Blogs by JE Thompson
Building Believalble Characters!
8/5/2011 8:07:29 PM
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Character Development: Filling Out a Character Resume!
Plausible and complex characters are crucial to successful storytelling. This entails not only the protagonist, but the antagonist and a carnival of minor characters.
The importance of character development was hammered home to me at the AJC-Decatur Book Festival when New York Times Best Selling Author N. M. Kelby did an impressive two-hour presentation on Character Development.
Think of any great book and the main character pops into your mind: Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennett, The Great Gatsby: Nick Carraway, Janie Starks: Their Eyes Were Watching God, To Kill a Mockingbird: Scout Finch, Devil in a Blue Dress: Easy Rawlins, etc. The list can go on and on with many examples from literature.
Your Main Character:
1. Delivers your point of view to your readers
2. Is identified forever with your book.
3. Is memorable and creates lasting memories for your readers.
All your characters should respond to their experiences by changing or by working hard to avoid changing. As they seek to carry out their agendas, run into conflicts, or fail or succeed, and confront new problems, they will not stay the same.
If you want to write a successful novel, you must create a realistic group of characters to move your plot along.
How do you get to know your Characters?
You must create a character resume for your protagonist, antagonist and a few of your minor characters.
Think of using a resume as if a character was applying for a job in your novel. You must complete a resume for your characters. This will give you the opportunity to get to know them.
For my fourth novel, Purple Phantoms, I had to develop totally new characters from the novels in my trilogy, A Brownstone In Brooklyn, Philly Style and Philly Profile and Ghost of Atlanta.
Before I even wrote a word of Purple Phantoms I filled out a resume for all the major characters. This helped me get to know all the people who will carry the storyline in this novel.
Will you use everything in a resume? The answer: No!
What you do learn is how your characters will react in certain stressful situations and critical moments in your book.
How can you put your characters in critical situations if you donít know the personalities?
You need to fill out a Character Resume to help find the answers.
I have a character resume form that I use for the protagonist, antagonist and minor characters.
From past experience, Iíve learned the importance of developing this resume, which contains many questions. You donít want to delve into your book and still donít know what makes your characters tick.
Here is an example of a few of the questions in the resume:
Address & Phone Number:
Date & Place of Birth:
Parentsí Names & Occupations:
Other Family Members:
Spouse or Lover:
Friendsí Names & Occupations:
ETC. (Many More Questions)
Please email me, juliusthompsonbooks.gmail.com,requesting a blank character resume form and I will email it to you.
I also want to leave you with this thought:
And Never Give Up On Your DreamsĒ
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