Monday, March 28, 2011

Think You Know Your Character?

  I just got me some renewed writing drive at the League of Utah Writers Spring Conference. Great classes, a little reconnecting, all for the cost of membership dues. It also makes great material for blog entries. It’s never the same as being there, but here’s to hoping you can gain from my experience.
  This week’s entry will be about the first class: The Psychology of Characterization taught by Jennifer Nielsen. This was a slightly different take on characterization classes I’ve attended. She spent part of the time on personality basics like knowing that a character’s personality is stable; it’s the traits that may evolve or adapt. The presence of a certain trait may matter, but the intensity/amount really matters. For a person to behave out of character, there should be a reason. She also gave some good sites for finding out more about personalities.
  Jennifer prepared ‘fill in the rest of the sentence’ questions to delve into knowing our main character. These I had seen before, but there were a few answers that surprised me. Since I am writing a stand alone sequel to my first novel (currently under publisher review), I thought I knew my MC well enough not to find surprises. But my MC has evolved and matured. Karlinah started out as a sixteen-year-old princess and now has experienced motherhood and family tragedy that can’t help but shape her. This is a tip I recommend and will repeat in the future.
  After seeing the answers, we could group them into categories. People’s issues tend to be reworked repeatedly, so be prepared to learn more about your character’s issues. One surprise answer to The person I admire most is . . . hit me with a new twist to my plot when Jennifer asked the question What is the very worst thing I can do to my MC? By combining these, I am excited to write an event into my story that will impact future events in the plot. I’ll find out if it takes me where I think it will go and the discovery will be a stimulating ride for me—something invaluable to a writer.
  Next Monday I will share from John Brown’s classes.
  BTW, I am pleased to say that I won a book this past week on Don Carey's blog. Very cool.
  What's your best Characterization tip?
                                                             Lunch with Lisa and Melissa.


Angie said...

Those are great suggestions for characterization. I think my best tip is to eavesdrop and people-watch a lot. =) Glad you enjoyed the workshop.

Renae W. Mackley said...

This is genius, Angie. We can call our spying and eavesdropping "research". LOL

kbrebes said...

Angie is right! Plus, eavesdrop on characters in movies, plays, and books!

The Damsel In Dis Dress said...

Thanks for coming to the workshop! Oh, goodness, that was so scary.