Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

C: Writers and Character

When a writer looks at character,
those slippery descriptions
build a conundrum:
physical,
emotional,
and the oft talked of
(and carefully constructed)
backstory.
A piece of cake. Ha!
I offer you a view from the castle,
full of cautions.
For when the page is complete,
do our characters sing or dance?
Talk to us when the lights are out
and the computer is shut down?
And do our readers e-mail love letters,
asking for more?

Some writers pursue a long getting-to-know-you checklist that itemizes every possible 'reality' for their characters. Others hop into story, hoping their characters will morph -- through dialogue and action -- into something more than shadows of their own past.

Some writers are able to bring their characters to life with that telling detail that aches with precision and echoes in your memory as you turn the page.

Do our characters ring with truth when we create a hero who is male when we are female? Or, vice versa?

I was surprised how much my character's motivation and actions changed when I flipped genders for my hero/heroine. Shades of long ago: my female character is far too submissive; my male character too easily leaps to rescue. But I didn't 'see' what needed thinking about until I changed genders (and will, most likely change them back). 

For I'm still working on those lists and random drafts of scenes and character sketches, circling around how I create that authentic voice of my character.

Source: Nicholas Brealey


Today's post is for April's Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Why not see what others are writing about?