Characterizing

Can you remember the most boring book you have ever read or tried to read? The characters bland, predictable, or oh-brotherish. Have you ever read a fictional book or story without characters? Of course not. Can you imagine what one would be like? No. It would be a narrative about what? Nothingness.

The use of adjectives, adverbs, and points of view bring plots to life. You might be able to write a paragraph, page, or even a short chapter without any characters, but that would be it. And what would be the point? However, as an experiment, go ahead and try to! Just remember, some words evoke images without any help, so you cannot use those.

While technical writing is flat and boring, fiction should never be. Still, care should be taken to not overembellish or overdescribe either. As an avid reader, you know, of course, what I mean when I say that you do not want your readers to set aside your much-sweated-over book or to merely scan through the plethora of exhaustive paragraphs or lengthy pages of your very verbose and indistinguishable story because of your untrimmed and extreme wordiness. (For example. 🙂 )

Another aspect of characterizing might be personal. Do YOU come through in your writing? Has anyone ever said, “That sounds just like you?” Unless you’re writing a memoir or an autobiography, you should not imbue your characters with too much of yourself. An opinion or a small quirk is okay, as long as it fits a character’s character. A person can be odd, but not oddly out of character without an explanation.

Most writers create characters who are: like themselves or someone they know; unlike themselves or anyone they know; similar to someone they heard or read about; someone they want or don’t want in their lives; or someone they dream of being. After millennia of mankind, civilized and not, there are no new characters. We write about what we have experienced, learned, or dreamed, all of which is about life, living, and death. However, it is up to us to make our characters special and stand out, hooking readers emotionally and intellectually – creative characterization at its best.

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About Cyranette

I have been writing since I was 11 and am now a grandmother of 9. Aside from my family, I love writing, reading, movies, gardening, genealology, and travel. I met my soulmate online and we've been married 18 years. I am a survivor of rape, abuse, and cancer. I believe in love, kindness, and common sense. I was born/raised in Indiana and have lived in Massachusetts, Texas, and California. I have visited: most of the United States, British Columbia, Germany, Austria, and Costa Rica. My husband and I would like to visit England, Europe, and New Zealand and to take a train ride along the Canadian/American border. I have written essays, articles, short stories, a romance novel, a self-help book, and several children's books.
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