#EdenLit - Lessons- Building A Compelling Character part 3

Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Building A Compelling Character part 3

You have made your paper doll and decorated it with snazzy looks and personality stuff. Then you really began to color her in with quirks and real reactions. Now what? Well, you need to decide if your character will fit the perfect world scenery you have imagined. If she does then Huzzah! If not, then you need to change your scenery. Nothing feels more boring and irritating to a reader than a story that has amazing scenery and plot but doesn't fit the basic actions of the characters.

You should always remember that you are a little like God, in that you are creating a whole new reality of real people for your reader. They are flawed, gross, irritating, special, loving and amazing. They will belch in public, make horrible wardrobe choices, take the wrong turn, turn off their brains and do all the things you and I do on a daily basis. The compassionate thing is to smooth out the road in front of them but this rings hollow and makes them less than they could be if they just tried-and succeeded or failed miserably. One of the most irritating quirks of Superman is that no matter what stupid and hurtful things he says; he always does the right thing. This skirts the edge of total disaster in a way that is compelling to a reader...you sort of hate him even while you hope he's around in the next earthquake!
Don't be afraid to allow your babies to suffer the consequences of the plot line, weep a little but forge on because chances are they will surprise you.

Go light on the physical descriptions most writers overdo the initial descriptions inundating their readers with extraneous details like how the character's hair shines in sunlight...even though in the scene it's raining outside! You will have plenty of time to add in that little tidbit later in the story. For now let her be a short, image conscious housewife who can decorate a cake like a master pastry chef. Your readers don't really care what she looks like int he beginning just what she is going to do. They get curious about her physical appearance after a few scenes. As you develop your skill the characters will naturally begin to fill in the missing details for themselves.

Never forget that you are not the boss here, your characters are. They will be leading the reader through the story while you are merely the tour guide filling in the details that the characters may not know. Most "people" know what they look like and how they think so you really have to let them do the talking about that stuff. You have to let them roam free or they will turn on you and make you look like a fool....seriously! This is why it is so important to develop your characters so well that they are living and breathing people to you. Taking the time to get to know your character is the difference between a living and breathing story and one that is flat and 2 dimensional. No amount of lush scenery, and fantastic creatures can keep poorly realized characters fresh and exciting for your reader.
While you write really get into the head of your characters- what sort of music do they like? What and how do they eat? What thoughts are running through your character's head?

Now stop micro managing and let your character think for themselves. Allow the situation do demand a response from your characters and step back. You may be very surprised how very different your little housewife is at the end of the story!
11/21/2012
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