AuthorsDen.com   Join (Free!) | Login  

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
   Services MarketPlace (Free to post!)
Where Authors and Readers come together!

SIGNED BOOKS    AUTHORS    eBOOKS new!     BOOKS    STORIES    ARTICLES    POETRY    BLOGS    NEWS    EVENTS    VIDEOS    GOLD    SUCCESS    TESTIMONIALS

Featured Authors:  Elizabeth Weeks-Rowe, idawn kunda, iGary Caplan, iFlorence Weinberg, iShervin Hojat, Ph.D., iM. Pritchard, iPaddy Bostock, i

  Home > Mainstream > Articles Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Robert L rferrier1941@cox.net

· Become a Fan
· Contact me
· Books
· Articles
· Poetry
· News
· Blog
· 81 Titles
· 98 Reviews
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
·
Member Since: Before 2003

Robert L rferrier1941@cox.net, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.




Featured Book
Charlie No Face
by David Seaburn

Charlie No Face is a coming-of-age story about an 11 year old boy, Jackie, and the unlikely friendship he forges with local disfigured hermit, Charlie No Face, a friendsh..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


Featured Book
Eternal Flame
by Patricia Garber

In Eternal Flame, author Patricia Garber puts her own touch to the Elvis mystique, interweaving it with the elements of love, dreams, and choices as she spins an unfo..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members



   Recent articles by
Robert L rferrier1941@cox.net

• Fiction Craft: An Introduction
• Fiction Craft: Revising the Novel
• Fiction Craft: Dialogue
• Fiction Craft: Viewpoint
• Fiction Craft: Selling Novels; Writing Flashbacks; American Market
• Fiction Craft: Viewpoint, Characterization, Permissions, Resubmissions
• Fiction Craft: A Is for Angst
• Fiction Craft: Plotting by Outline
• Fiction Craft: Using Real People as Characters
• Fiction Craft: Writing Fantasy Part II
• Fiction Craft: Writing Fantasy (Part I)
• Fiction Craft: Brevity
           >> View all

Fiction Craft: Characterization (Part 2)
By Robert L rferrier1941@cox.net   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Share    Print   Save    Become a Fan


Part two of a column describing the elements of characterization in a novel.

Fiction Craft: Characterization (Part 2)

By

Robert Ferrier
(rferrier2.cox.net)


Having given characters a history and motivation, now put them in motion with a threat to their well-being. Set high stakes for the protagonist's story goal: life or death, happiness or despair, love or loneliness. To ensure the story goal merits readers' concern, match the quest against standards in Georges Polti's book, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations. Using examples from literature, Polti categorizes the human conflicts which motivate characters.

DRIVE THE CHARACTER

Drive your character with three actions:

1. Give the character a story goal.
2. Threaten the goal.
3. Provide reasons for the character to continue fighting.

ESTABLISH PROTAGONIST'S DOMINANT ATTITUDE

Readers want heroes, not victims. Though saddled with human flaws, the protagonist looms large in one trait: she never quits. Against increasing odds, she summons the will to fight, scene after scene. Sequels reveal her wounds, supporting characters offer her chances to quit, and the antagonist gains the upper hand throughout the story. Yet the heroine uses skills, smarts and guts to counter-punch.

In my novel, DEAR MR. KAPPS, 14-year-old Rafe Mackey, an aspiring comedy writer, struggles against two of Polti's dramatic situations: Falling Prey to Misfortune and Obstacles to Love. Here are segments from Rafe's opening letter to his idol, television comedian Solomon Kapps:
-------------------------------
Dear Mr. Kapps:

Today I finished reading your book, Know Jokes! I hope you can help me. I finished reading the book in my doctor's office, because I needed something to take my mind of the news--good or bad.

Dr. Wong told me I have lymphoma, cancer of the lymph glands. I didn't know I had lymph glands. They're supposed to keep me from getting sick. I didn't want to start this letter with a downer, but you need to know the real deal. Dr. Wong said I had a "good" cancer. She meant lymphoma can be cured. She said my cancer hadn't spread much, but by that time I'd already hit the off button.

I write. So I'm writing you.

You've got to be asking, "Why are you writing me? Well, I love your television show. I love the way you make Mom and me laugh and I love your book. You want to know what's weird, Mr. Kapps? I choke when I speak in front of people, but when I write jokes and funny scripts, the kids all laugh. When I make people laugh, I feel good.

I dream about three things: football, you and Jenny Outland (more on her later.) I can't imagine not playing football, but Mom and Dr. Wong said maybe next year, when I've finished chemotherapy.

Now I need to write to someone who can make me laugh. I'm scared, Mr. Kapps. Last night I had a nightmare. I saw my own funeral. Guys from the football team carried my casket. I woke up sweating.

Maybe you could write something from Chapter One, "Getting Material from Your Life." My life's a train wreck: I've got cancer; I can't play football and my head will shine like a cue ball. Then there's the Jenny thing. (But Jenny deserves a whole letter.)

I promise you, Mr. Kapps. I'm going to beat this cancer.

Hoping to hear from you,

Rafe (Soon To Be Bald) Mackey
-------------------------------

SHOW AS MUCH COURAGE AS YOUR CHARACTERS

Creating courageous characters demands courage. To make characters come alive, you must reach deep within yourself, writing both to your passions and fears. During my presentation at a writers conference, a member of the audience asked, "How did you research Rafe's cancer experience to make it seem so real?"

I answered that I had lived Rafe's experience, surviving lymphoma 23 years ago. More than two decades passed before I could revisit the fear, uncertainty and pain. Rafe and fellow cancer patient Brad Boxleitner challenge each other as they attempt to build a P-38 model airplane in a race against time. Through his letters to Mr. Kapps, Rafe's life unfolds in a story of love, loyalty and growth.

In summary, nothing ranks higher in your story than multi-dimensional characters. Whether heroines or villains, build them from the inside out, using the mortar of your passions, experience and dreams.

Next month: Plot
  

Web Site: SynergEbooks.com


Reader Reviews for "Fiction Craft: Characterization (Part 2)"


Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!


Reviewed by Pam Potter (Reader) 7/6/2001
I totally agree.

Books by
Robert L rferrier1941@cox.net



The Witchery Way





Dear Mr. Kapps





The Virtual Guard







Taking Care of Harry by Frank Ryan

A contemporary novel about relationships...  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


Missing Ingredients by Lark Pogue

What could be worse than spending your last hours of existence in a mind full of regrets and guilt over your life exploits? Only one thing—being the victim of those deeds. Duane Co..  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.