Writing Tips & Tools

Monday, October 01, 2007

Lesson #5 - Characterization con't..

by Bonnie Calhoun

Today we are continuing editing lessons from the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.

These lessons will be shortened overviews of the chapters and by no means should be a substitute for buying the book. I'm rereading but not posting a lot of good stuff!

Let's continue with characterization.

Some writers take a more subtle approach than simply describing a new character's personality...they describe each new character's history. In the course of the story, they may even trace theri characters' ancestry back two or three generations. It is perfectly understandable that a writer should undertake this sort of historical characterization.

Delving into a character's past can be a good way for you to understand the character in the present. but htough it may have been helpful for you to write a character's history...it may not be necessary for your readers to read it!

One you understand a character well enough to bring him or her to life, we don't have to know where the character came from.

So how do you go about establishing a charater gradually and unobtrusively? This topic could make a book in itself, but there are some techniques that fall within the area of fiction mechanics.

Have one character characterized by another instead of by the writer.
Develop your characters through dialogue.
Another way is to develop a character is to write not about the character directly but about other matters from that characters viewpoint.

Next we'll start on Exposition.


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