Whenever I spout off about the all-important need for great characters, someone invariably disagrees. True writing success, they say, lies not only in great characters, but in your ability to come up with a great plot and structure, compelling dialogue and so forth. And they aren’t wrong.
In fact, I couldn’t agree more. But the simple truth is this — and I’m not the first to say it: your characters define all those things. They are your story.
Even if you succeed in giving us a wonderful plot and structure, you’ve got nothing unless your characters jump off the page. In writing fiction of any kind, characters are everything. Everything.
As you know, I approach everything through quotes. When considering a post on compelling characters, I would be remiss not to direct you to this article by Robert Browne at Casting the Bones. It is an article I have bookmarked and refer to often - one of my favorites. To be honest, I probably should have thought to share it with you sooner. Oops! But today's blogfest is the perfect opportunity.
To summarize for you, Mr. Browne lists some important qualities of character. For the full benefit of his article, though, you should seriously go read it!
He approaches character development like this:
- Characters are Attitude
- Characters are Emotion
- Characters Must Have a Goal
- Character is Action/Dialogue
- You + Imagination ("Every character I write is me. From the hero and heroine down to that grocery store clerk, every single character I write is… me." - Browne)
Each of these elements is explained in further detail in the full article - here.
How about you - anything to add?
For more posts on creating compelling characters, check out the list of blogfest participants at Elana's blog - HERE.