Monday, February 8, 2010

Strong Characters

In the comments last week Cindy mentioned that it not only takes the correct motivation behind a character's moves to make a story work, but it just plain takes strong characters.

When you read, what makes a good character?

The other day, I found myself watching a few favorite tv shows over again simply because I love seeing the characters in action. For me, it doesn't matter if my favorite law enforcement people are in law enforcement, the medical field, or homeless shelters. I know the characters would be the same and I would still enjoy their interactions.

With my story this week, I'm going to be focusing on how to make my characters the kind of characters you would want to read in any book, regardless of which setting they're in. I think strong characterization not only comes from knowing a person's motivation, but also from how they interact with each other. Not that it needs to turn into a soap opera of any kind, but who the person is can be shown through how he/she reacts to others.

I guess what I really mean is any character I create always has more to him/her than I'm aware of. I make assumptions about them that can't be put into words. So when I put my characters in different situations, or plug in other people to their life, the things I wasn't aware of come out.

It's all there. I just need to create a way to let my characters show it.


  1. You make some great points here, especially about MC's standing out and being fun and interesting to read no matter what situation they're in.

    I'm working hard on this as I approach my new WIP. I want my character to be relatable but unique as I toss her into situations that are far out of her comfort zone.

  2. And sometime you've got to let your characters lead you into who they are also. I'm a character driven writer, and am always trying to remain true to my character's nature, regardless of the situation.

    Thanks for the reminder about characters. I appreciate it.