Tag Archives: characterization

Personalizing Your Character’s Emotional Wound

First Edition Design Publishing - a hybrid publisher

Emotional wounds are tricky to write about.

Abuse, betrayal, victimization, and the death of a loved one may exist in our characters’ pasts and so must be explored.

But these are also real life events that cause damage to real people.

So as I talk today about personalizing wounds for our characters, please know that I’m aware of the pain they cause in our world, and I applaud the courageous individuals who fight to come to grips with them every day.

Why Wounding Events Matter in Fiction

Wounding events greatly affect a character’s development, so they’re important to identify.

These painful experiences are deeply impactful, giving birth to life-altering fears, new habits and behaviors, even flaws meant to protect her from facing that pain again.

Wounding events are aptly named because they change who the character is; until they’re faced and addressed, she will never be whole.

But pinpointing what…

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On Writing Secondary Characters

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

bookfriendsDeveloping a cast of memorable characters isn’t easy. Writers are told to develop their main character well with motivation, internal and external conflict–but sometimes don’t put the same emphasis on secondary characters because they’re too worried about their MC.

It’s easy to manipulate secondary characters and sub plots to support your story, but they have to be much more than leading the reader. We can tell when a writer is using secondary characters to prove a point. So why not build a varied cast of secondary characters that feel like they also exist in real life–like your MC.

How to write secondary characters in your subplots:

  • They should feel like they have a life of their own and are just popping into this story for a minute. Your secondary characters’ lives shouldn’t revolve around the main character’s. They should feel like they live on after the book is done.
  • They should have their own…

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Dialogue tips: the fastest way to improve any manuscript

onewildword

In this 30-minute video below, author Joanna Penn interviews author and writing teacher James Scott Bell about his book on dialogue, “How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript.”

Bell gives some great tips to make your dialogue sing and catch the eye of an agent, publisher and reader:

  1. Characters shouldn’t be feeding each other information they already know. Example: Brother to sister: “Look sis, our mom, Linda who is a school teacher is home.”
  2. Don’t hide exposition or backstory in dialogue. Readers are savvy, will pick up on it, and won’t be happy. Bell says if you must convey the information, try turning the exchange into a confrontation. More information tends to be exchanged when people are confrontational.
  3. How do you differentiate dialogue between characters? Bell suggests keeping a voice journal for each main character. For more on this, see my earlier post, “Use a…

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Character development: God is in the details

onewildword

In her blog post, “Revealing Character Through Details,” Julie Eshbaugh quotes Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969,) who famously said, “God is in the details.”

A German-born, American architect, van der Rohe did not mean the more details the better. He meant it’s the small, subtle details that can give a building (and per Eshbaugh a book) the power to transcend the common.

In other words, look for telling-details that will relay worlds of information about your character to the reader. My character may have red hair, green cat eyes, freckles and a stand-out bosom but what makes her unique and memorable isn’t her outer description it’s the fact that she used to be a kleptomaniac and her eye is still drawn to bright, shiny objects, even when she’s having a serious conversation with somebody. Her eyes are greedy.

Reader Eshbaugh’s post for some fantastic examples and help in finding your…

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What does your character want?

WordzNerd Debz

It seems a simple enough question but you’d be surprised how many manuscripts I read where I don’t know the answer. Since most writers are focussed determined beings who know what they want, I wonder why they sometimes forget what motivates their key characters.

I have talked about this before, but for good reason — it’s important. Characters need more than it might seem ‘real’ people need to drive their actions. In real life where we see it only from the outside, we often get only glimpses of behaviour and ponder the reason that motivates it. In fiction we can get right inside a character, we are privy to the most private thoughts and fears — and as such we should be able to work out what drives the need. Why a character never sleeps, has scars on their wrist, can’t go near even the cutest dog, avoids a certain…

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