Monday, May 10, 2010

Hanging Out With My Characters

For the last week I’ve been hanging out a lot with my characters. Eating chocolate and drinking lattes. You know, getting to know them better. Like really know them.

It’s hard. I’m tired.

Overcaffeinated. Dying for a good, hard run.

But right now I’m so into my character’s heads that I don’t want to leave them. Have you ever felt that connection? And then the fear that if you put them aside, you’ll lose that grasp of who they are and what makes them tick?

So I’ve been doing a lot of research on what makes characters tick. Come to life.

Here are some things that I’ve found in my hunt:

1. Larger-Than-Life Character Qualities- Donald Maass- Get your characters doing something memorable. Something that they would never do.

2. “Without good characters, it’s hard to care about the story”- Suzie Townsend

3. Great interview questions to ask your character- Suzette Saxton

4. Make your characters quirky- Elana Johnson

5. Use dialogue to enrich your characters- Margot Finke

6. Get to know your characters better by doing these exercises at StoryBug.

Aren’t these fabulous? Any suggestions you have to add?


Lisa Gail Green said...

Great stuff! Last week's Scribechat on twitter was all about this. Check out the transcript.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yay! Look at all those awesome links - you rock!! :-)

Angela Ackerman said...

I struggle with charactterization more than anything else. Huge thanks for this. :)

Kelly Polark said...

Christina, thank you SO much for these awesome links. I am trying to strengthen my main character right now in my MG and I know these exercises will help me. Perfect timing, thank yoU!

Victoria Dixon said...

Great links, Christina! What I try to remember while working on characterization is that the characters I love the most, the ones I cry for and return to, are those who show either great heroism, great humor, or great intelligence. By "Great," I mean over-the-top, of course. It's hard for me to do humor at all and over-the-top humor really isn't in me, so I mostly do heroism as it's less of a stretch than intelligence! ;D

Christina Farley said...

Oh I'm glad these were helpful. Victoria, I love your comment! That is something more to be explored!

Jackee said...

LOVE these links. Anna's Storybug blog is adorable, and I like Margo's article too!

I hear you about the characters. I have one right now that will not leave me be and live life beyond the page. I feel like I'm losing her voice, though, because I'm not cranking it out fast enough.

Jennifer Shirk said...

This is fantastic! Thanks!!

Ann Best said...

Great tips. Thanks for sharing. And for your comment on my blog.

PJ Hoover said...

I'm working on characters as we speak, so this totally comes in handy! Thanks!
I think this time I may try taking my characters out to eat. Or hosting a cocktail party with them.

Stina said...

Great link! Somehow I've been missing your blog when I do my daily reading. :(

Elana Johnson said...

I'm shocked that you dug that deep into my blog. Thank you!