Characterization Lives In The Little “Somethings”

It’s a fun concept. Giving – or knowing, even if just in the writer’s head – that level of detail allows a three- dimensional person to evolve. Someone who, with just a few lines, can endear themselves to a reader.

“As if talking to himself (which he might have been doing), he said he wanted some company while he worked. This bird fit the, um, bill. He brought it back to the table so it could watch him do math.”

In 40 words, we can fall in love with a character. That’s how simple it can be to write an amazing character. And how hard. Lacy or colorful shoes indicate an inner free spirit in a character. Maybe an outward free spirit, too.

It’s fun to wonder what unique traits my characters have had (or what I have myself as a 3-D person)!

Nice job with this.

Allison Maruska

Last night, I started outlining a new story. There are two POV characters. One is Beth, an English woman whose story occurs in 1981. The other is Sonia, an American woman (I haven’t figured out which city yet) living in the present day.

character-quoteI know basic details for each character.

Beth – English, a primary school teacher, married, romantic (idolizes Lady Di), a little anxious, can be disorganized. Has long, dirty-blonde hair that’s unruly at times. She’s short and a little overweight.

Sonia – African-American, lives in a big city, political science professor, engaged, tall, fit, type-A. Prefers intellectual conversations to dreamy flights of fancy.

Those are good details to start, but as get to know them, I realize I need more. I need those little “somethings” that make someone special. Unique. Real.

The risk when creating characters is to fall into stereotypes. Like the Hemingway quote suggests, we want…

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Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

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