Yesterday, I followed a link at Miss Snarks to Arthur Levine’s website where he gave a talk on what makes books special and compelling.Ã‚Â Look hereÃ‚Â arthuralevinebooks.com to read his complete talk.
One of his important thoughts was about character and plotsÃ‚Â and how to make them unique.Ã‚Â This is especially important being that there are only so many plots in the world.Ã‚Â It’s the characters and the “you”Ã‚Â that bring new life to tired scenarios.Ã‚Â
He talked about putting real people, or parts of them, mostly yourself, into characters.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I began to think about the characters I’ve written and whether I’ve done that or not.Ã‚Â I think I have.Ã‚Â
What do you think about that as writers?Ã‚Â Do you see bits of you in every character you write?Ã‚Â Some characters?Ã‚Â Or have you used portions of other people you know?
At one of my writer’s critique sessions we talked about characters and the issue came up regarding the people who are sometimes the basis for characters.Ã‚Â If the character is particularly jerky, the real person rarely recognizes himself in the book…I thought that was an interesting insight into human nature.
One thought on “Characterization…”
I don’t see myself in the characters in the end, but in the beginning I realize I’m vesting them with what I think are my characteristics. Other people probably don’t see me the way I see myself, so they woudln’t necessarily recognize these things.
In the process of writing and rewriting, though, I find that characters flesh themselves out, reveal other aspects of themselves that I hadn’t thought of at first. I realize that I’m really the one coming up with these elements, but it feels like it comes from some other source — like the characters, or some floating cloud of creativity. This is the part of writing I most like, when it escapes the bounds of my day-to-day thinking and becomes fiction.