Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Character Dance, by Paula Rose

 Now back to writing…

Writing fictional characters might be compared to a dance. Since this  dance begins with the unknown almost as if we were attending a masked and costumed ball and while there, we would obviously find ourselves dancing with a stranger i.e. our character(s). Just as surely as lack of knowledge puts barriers between us and our partner, the unknowns we haven’t fleshed out cause readers to feel left out or blindsided. Without a back-story for each character sprinkled in at opportune time’s reader often feel lost, or worse, lose interest, and begin to read another story or book!

If we want readers to enjoy and eagerly await our next release, it becomes important to remember that defined characters exhibiting human strengths and shortcomings make readers care, root for, wonder about, or even, hate them. Where just doing a brief biography for each character might have once been enough, writers who want readers to order their books, will discover that writing each character’s biography and interviewing them will help them develop a devoted readership.

Begin by asking the character their name, what music they like to dance too, then dance with them! Much like a first date, you'll get to know more about them than words could convey. Characters given the right to exist outside of the printed word might become so happy with this arrangement that they begin telling you everything. I've experienced this, spoken with other authors who have as well, and can share you that if you begin with the premise that these characters are real and treat them as such, you’ll find their words and thoughts set down and wonder if you actually wrote them. In the movie “Stranger than Fiction” the fictional character, and then the author deal with this very issue. Though neither believes the other really exists by the end of the film they do, and in so doing, each of them make different choices than the ones they planned too. I bring this up because if you follow my suggestions, your fiction could become as real to you as mine did to me while writing the Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, six-book saga.

Ah, you’re wondering, What are the questions?

I’ll tell you next time. But before we meet again, you might want to write down some questions you’d like to ask your character. Then when we meet again, you’ll have something to add as well as take away. I like that idea because each writer has within them something unique to say, and a different way of saying it.

Until we meet again may the words on you page reflect…

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