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How do the most well-received literary fiction writers CREATE MEMORABLE CHARACTERS? Literature is a work of lasting art; fiction is imagined story and characters. And, a key point, creatively building a character rather than describing from memory (memoir, biography) is a great advantage in forming memorable characters. Here are techniques and principles in storytelling that provide literary-quality characterization: Action, Conflict, Character-based Plots, Change, Others.

ACTION
Use imagic action-scenes to display characteristics, emotion, morality, and worldview whenever possible. Examples:
TELLING: NO ACTION. Harry flew a kite at the beach to entertain his invalid son. But the kite got away, and Harry seethed with anger. [No characterization.)
IN SCENE ACTION. A wind gust elevated the dragon kite and the string ran through Harry's hand fast enough to hurt. "Let me do it, Daddy," his son Raymond said as he limped to Harry's side. The boy held out his hand that trembled without stop from a congenital palsy. Could he hold the string? Fly the kite? He wanted to so badly.
"Hold it tight," Harry said placing the string in the boy's hand. The kite dipped then suddenly soared, the string taught again.
"I dropped it," the boy said crying. Harry reached out but the kite had ascended too far--the string was out of reach. Harry cursed as the kite disappeared untethered, driven out to the sea by the off-shore wind. "I didn't mean too," the boy said, "Don't hit me."
[Reader learns about characters and their relationship.]

CONFLICT
Keep characters in CONFLICT (dramatize and reveal character).
Constructions like: Character A: I'd like to hike to the top." Character B: "A smashing idea." [No energy.]
Conflict can often increase characterization: Character A. "Let's climb to the top." Character B. "I'm too weak to do that. And you know I don't like heights." [Conflict tells something about characters and plot.]

CHARACTER-BASED PLOTS.
Plots can reveal essential character traits. In successful literature, characters' strengths, weaknesses, fears, lack of experience, failures of intuition, etc. frequently drive plots.
Example: "A wealthy business man excessively proud of his invincibility chooses to fly his private airplane at night with limited experience in bad weather, causes a crash due to his poor decisions based on his inflated belief in himself and his abilities, and kills himself and his passengers." This is character based plotting.
Character-based is often better for characterization than fatalistic plotting that ignores the opportunity for characterization: "The night was dark and stormy, and the plane's instruments were not functioning after a lighting strike and the plane crashed killing all aboard."
Both examples describe an event, but the first is character-driven.

CHANGE
Great characters in literature CHANGE in some way. An enlightenment, an epiphany, a recognition of responsibility, a caring, a gracious gesture from a mean soul, a commitment, accepted responsibility for a failure, etc.

AVOID STEREOTYPES
For a major character, actions, thoughts and descriptions must seem as unique and fresh to a reader as possible. Avoid stereotypical rendering.

OTHER HELPFUL TECHNIQUES
Character-specific dialogue.
Character focused imaging.

To learn more about characterization and fiction writing, visit: http://storyinliteraryfiction.com/essays-on-writin…
.
SHORT STORY EXAMPLES of principles. READ or LISTEN FREE
ACTION "The Miracle of Madame Villard": http://storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories…
CONFLICT "Inside the Matryoshka": http://storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories…
CHARACTER-BASED PLOT "Reddog": http://storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories…
CHANGE "On the Road to Yazoo City"
http://storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories…

Want a good award-winning novel to read? McDOWELL by William H Coles http://mcdowellbycoles.com/
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Posted 2 days ago

How do the most well-received literary fiction writers CREATE MEMORABLE CHARACTERS?  Literature is a work of lasting art; fiction is imagined story and characters. And, a key point, creatively building a character rather than describing from memory (memoir, biography) is a great advantage in forming memorable characters.  Here are techniques and principles in storytelling that provide literary-quality characterization: Action, Conflict, Character-based Plots, Change, Others. 

ACTION
Use imagic action-scenes to display characteristics, emotion, morality, and worldview whenever possible.  Examples:
       TELLING: NO ACTION. Harry flew a kite at the beach to entertain his invalid son.  But the kite got away, and Harry seethed with anger.  [No characterization.)
       IN SCENE ACTION. A wind gust elevated the dragon kite and the string ran through Harrys hand fast enough to hurt.  Let me do it, Daddy, his son Raymond said as he limped to Harrys side. The boy held out his hand that trembled without stop from a congenital palsy.  Could he hold the string?  Fly the kite?  He wanted to so badly.  
        Hold it tight, Harry said placing the string in the boys hand. The kite dipped then suddenly soared, the string taught again. 
         I dropped it, the boy said crying.  Harry reached out but the kite had ascended too far--the string was out of reach.  Harry cursed as the kite disappeared untethered, driven out to the sea by the off-shore wind.  I didnt mean too, the boy said,  Dont hit me. 
         [Reader learns about characters and their relationship.]

CONFLICT
Keep characters in CONFLICT (dramatize and reveal character).
      Constructions like: Character A:  Id like to hike to the top.  Character B: A smashing idea. [No energy.]  
      Conflict can often increase characterization: Character A. Lets climb to the top.  Character B. Im too weak to do that.  And you know I dont like heights.  [Conflict tells something about characters and plot.] 

CHARACTER-BASED PLOTS.  
Plots can reveal essential character traits. In successful literature, characters strengths, weaknesses, fears, lack of experience, failures of intuition, etc. frequently drive plots.  
       Example: A wealthy business man excessively proud of his invincibility chooses to fly his private airplane at night with limited experience in bad weather, causes a crash due to his poor decisions based on his inflated belief in himself and his abilities, and kills himself and his passengers. This is character based plotting.  
      Character-based is often better for characterization than fatalistic plotting that ignores the opportunity for characterization: The night was dark and stormy, and the planes instruments were not functioning after a lighting strike and the plane crashed killing all aboard. 
        Both examples describe an event, but the first is character-driven.

CHANGE
Great characters in literature CHANGE in some way.  An enlightenment, an epiphany, a recognition of responsibility, a caring, a gracious gesture from a mean soul, a commitment, accepted responsibility for a failure, etc.  

AVOID STEREOTYPES
For a major character, actions, thoughts and descriptions must seem as unique and fresh to a reader as possible. Avoid stereotypical rendering.

OTHER HELPFUL TECHNIQUES
Character-specific dialogue.
Character focused imaging.

To learn more about characterization and fiction writing, visit: http://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/essays-on-writing/
 . 
SHORT STORY EXAMPLES of principles.  READ or LISTEN FREE
ACTION  The Miracle of Madame Villard: http://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories-william-h-coles/the-miracle-of-madame-villard/
CONFLICT  Inside the Matryoshka: http://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories-william-h-coles/inside-the-matryoshka/
CHARACTER-BASED PLOT  Reddog:  http://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories-william-h-coles/reddog-william-h-coles/
CHANGE  On the Road to Yazoo City
http://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories-william-h-coles/on-the-road-to-yazoo-city/

Want a good award-winning novel to read? McDOWELL by William H Coles http://mcdowellbycoles.com/

Anita Marie Moscoso, Leonardo Figaro and 23 others like this

Joe BoruffCan we go over verisimilitude one of these days? ;) I will put your page on he see first list, even though I don't know if I'll ever choose to write fiction.

1 day ago

1 Reply

Jo Anne Du BoseI wish I could remember these lessons...

1 day ago   ·  1

Terry BensonOh Brad. I'm so proud of you for being so smart and just wish I could understand what you are talking about!

1 day ago

Amauunet AsheI aspire to write characters and scenery like Mister William H. Coles.

6 hours ago   ·  1

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