Creating Great Literary Characters...
Defining Great Literary Characterization…
By Stu Leventhal – A NEW TALE
Creating Great Personalities for Your Characters sets up your tale for greatness!
All the other main aspects of literature; settings, themes, drama, conflict, plot, dialog, point of view... are all elevated when the author is a keen characterization scribe.
There are all kinds of people in this world and that means there will always be all kinds of interesting fictional and nonfictional book characters. But compiling a cast of quirky and eccentric characters alone does not make a great story!
All creative writing stories, poetry, lyrics, mysteries, sci-fi, horror westerns, romances, humor, short tales, novels, theater productions, journalism... revolve around vivid descriptions of characters.
Great Characterization is about enabling readers to meet people they would never have a chance to meet in person or during their real lives.
Through reading we explore having relationships without actually having the relationships. This is a chance to make friends and deal with enemies without taking the risks that come about in real life from interacting with our neighbors, co-workers and people who we just happen to bump into.
Make no mistake; readers can grow to love characters that only exist in a book!
But, the people in novels and stories have to be believable people for readers to pay attention to them.
We, as readers, go on a journey where we get to experience new things because we are getting to know people who are new to us, different than us and thus exciting to us. Our favorite characters challenge our ways of thinking. We are introduced to new beliefs and new ways of life.
Interesting characters are like interesting people; unpredictable and unique!
But uniqueness just for the sake of being unique does not usually work. Readers are too sophisticated to fall for an author creating weirdness just to write something different and unusual into a story scene. Whether an author uses weird characters, weird settings or outrageous themes there must always be some anchors to reality.
Always bear in mind that a creative writer’s goal is to get his or her readers to lose themselves in the tale. That means you want your readers to forget that they are even reading a book! You cannot do that if your characters are too way out there.
Yes, it has always been popular in literary circles for authors to try to introduce characters to the world who are unlike any previous, literature characters or any real people, living or even similar to figures out of history. It is a natural, creative challenge and goal for most authors to attempt to be known as the super imaginative and inventive, scribe genius of their preferred literary genre.
Authors own the creative rights to the characters they create. Characterization is big business when you factor in movie rights, book sequels, possible theatrical stage productions and songs written about one's characters.
Creating a book character; hero or villain or even a minor character includes choosing an appropriate and memorable name, nick names may apply too. Also sarcastic nick names may need to be crafted that other characters and even the author may use to refer to a character but the character, him or herself, does not know is being used.
Physical characteristics need to be displayed so the reader can picture the person. A Psychiatric profile needs to be created for each character, some of which will be made known to the readers and other characters in the tale but not all.
Revealing the whole, well-rounded, complete picture of who each of an author’s characters are may be a big part of the creative writer’s agenda or motive for writing the story but it also may not.
Ultimately great characterization will depend on how well the author meshes the defining aspects of his or her characters with the other elements of storytelling; theme, plot, setting, point of view… Every element works together strengthening the other elements of the tale.
Great stories are about people, which is why people take an interest in reading well weaved tales. Readers enjoy interesting complex characterization. People who make us wonder and think leave an impression on us in real life as well as when we read!
*Wish to learn how to create great literary characters?
*Want to know how to express yourself better and more clearly through writing in any and all genres and literary styles?
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