Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Making Characters Pop

Still reading and making sense from Dwight V Swain's Techniques of A Selling Writer and characters. Here are three more ways to make the characters stronger and ones the readers want to know.

Behavior. Watching how a character acts tells the reader more about who he is that telling. If you say she was vain. The reader might shrug but if you show her not being able to pass a mirror without admiring herself the reader believes that vanity is one of this character's traits. He is a bully. The reader might shrug but showing him acting in this way grabs the reader's attention and allows them to see the character as a bully.

Match inner and outer characteristics. This means knowing the motivations behind the characters' actions. Showing the why behind an action by using tags and creating impressions.

Find contrasts. What this means is making each character unique in some way. Having all the characters being the same doesn't spur readers on. Look at the why behind the reason the major characters act in the way they do.


Judy Baker said...

Great tips, thanks,

Carol Riggs said...

Great reminders--motivations are SO important, as is Showing rather than Telling what a character is like. I think I need to go ponder my characters' motivations now... :)

Melissa Keir said...

I love the idea of showing. It's powerful... Now to put it to work!