Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Look At Characterization

Compelling stories usually have great characterization. Opinions differ on what holds a reader’s attention: a great story or the characters. Readers agree that they want characters they can love, hate, identify with and root for. So as writers, how do we successfully create such characters?

Do you have a favorite series character you think about often, as if s/he’s a dear friend? What makes that character draw you back over and over again?

Good characterization is tricky. As the author we have to know our characters well enough to paint strong portraits of their complex personalities. We have to make them believable, come alive for our readers.

How do you know you’ve done that?
Have you read a good story with lousy characterization—a story so incredibly strong and captivating that you got lost in the wonder of it and overlooked half-baked characters? Tell us about it.


Amy DeTrempe said...

I can't think of a favorite series character at the moment. When it comes to my own characters I think about them often (constantly) while I am writing the story and I become to know them as well as I do myself. I think a writer needs to do that. If the characters is only realy to you while you are at the computer and not while you are doing the dishes they could come off flat. but, that could jsut be me.

Kyle said...

My characters are not based on, but informed by, people I love or have loved or not; people I've seen dance or suffer, and seeing, felt a need to find some meaning therein. (Paraphrasing somebody a bit, in that last phrase.)

Erica Vetsch said...

I'm currently enamoured of the character Richard Castle from the TV series Castle. One of the things that intrigues me (aside from the fact that he's an author) is his relationship with his daughter. She's not a rebellious teen, and he's a concerned, responsible father. In all else he may appear cavalier, but his care and protection of his daughter is delightful and adds so much to his character. So often on television we're only shown the arguing, the angst, and the rebellion. It's more interesting to watch Castle and his daughter. :)