Saturday, April 21, 2007

Who Are Those People . . . and Why?

The most difficult thing for me in writing a novel is creating backgrounds for my characters. I believe our personalities stem from not only what frame of mind our moms were in while carrying us, but also our environment and how we're raised. So why are my characters the way they are? What motivates them? Are their actions and reactions logical, in sinc with their personalities?

In Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain, we read:

"Your ideas about why a man takes a certain path can quite possibly prove as valid as another's. In characterization, as in anything else, you have to act on the courage of your convictions. If you intrigue your reader with your concepts, he'll go along."


"A 'living' character is not necessarily 'true to life,'" declares poet-dramatist T.S. Eliot. "It is a person whom we can see and hear, whether he be true or false to human nature as we know it. What the creator of character needs is not so much knowledge of motives as keen sensibility; the dramatist need not understand people; but he must be exceptionally aware of them."

So. . . I guess anything goes. . .as long as it works.


Susan said...

This is interesting to me. I have written nonfiction books for teachers, but never tried the novel. It's something I'd like to try someday.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Susie does FANTASTIC work and she's SO easy and flexible.

Have a GREAT week and be blessed!!

:-) Susan

Christa said...

Love the T.S. Eliot quote----

Christina Berry said...

I got a ton from reading Swain's book, but I have to admit I'd get tired quickly if I read it in bed at night. Had to have a fresh mind to dig deep!

I just wanted to thank you for your comments on the Novel Journey Critique. (I've waited a while so I wouldn't skew the opinions.)

Since the dust has settled, I blogged about it today. I hope, since you were interested in the selection, that you might stop by and subscribe to my newsletter. Then I can let you know when it gets published!

Again, thank you for taking the time to comment and being so kind!