Sunday, May 16, 2010

Monday Mulligan Stew

I have several online workshops I'm giving this year. One is on Characterization. Here is a sampling from that workshop.

Characterization isn’t building your character- it’s building your character in the reader’s mind.

There are many ways to do this. First, you need to know your character. This is where a character chart/graph/ or application can help you learn more about your character. There are several different methods writers use to get “into the heads” of their characters.

Once you get the character set in your head- this process can start anywhere from six months to a year before I actually start working on a book with that character. My main characters become a part of my life. They flit in and out of my head in scenes or I might come across a situation and ask myself – what would so and so do in this situation? They become my friends and companions- or my desires in the case of a hunky hero!

When you start writing, don’t just tell the reader what your character looks like by describing him from the other character’s POV. Show him/her. Use external descriptions to show the setting/place through your character, giving the reader even more “characterization” about your character.

How a character feels about a place or describes it can show a lot about your character.

This is the beginning of my June Release,Doctor in Petticoats. It does a pretty good job of showing the state of mind of the hero at the start of the book.

He was sick of the darkness, sick of the pitying voices, sick of waiting to see the head of the blind school.
“Mr. Halsey, stop slouching. Just because you can’t see how pathetic it looks doesn’t mean it isn’t.”
The harsh feminine voice rippled his skin like a cow grinding its gums.
Sick of being bossed around.
Clay Halsey slumped even more and stretched his legs out in front of him. Turning toward the voice, he spread an insolent grin on his face.

This bit of defiance shows the character of Clay.

How about you? Do you have something to share about a character in your WIP?


M Pax said...

Great description.

I use theme songs when starting a new WIP to help me get into the right mood / emotion that my character sees her / his world through.

Paty Jager said...

Mary, I have certain music I listen to for each book. It helps draw me into the story but doesn't do a thing for my characterization. That's great you use music for your characters.

Helen Hardt said...

I've always loved that first sentence of DIP. Can't wait for the release!

Lauri said...

Good advice! I strive for the reader's empathy with my characters. I try to think of something a reader could relate to when describing what a character is experiencing.