Let Your Imagination Soar … Characterization
There is a writer inside everybody. It might be shriveled up from disuse, it might be calloused from one to many rejections, or it might be a little princess (or prince) preening at the very mention of another well-written document.
Now is your chance to shine or attempt to rub off a little rust. Once a week, I’ll discuss a writing element to help you become a better writer. By the end, you will have your own piece of writing. Maybe you’ll write a short story; maybe you’ll write a novel; maybe you’ll write a children’s book. The end product is entirely up to you and your imagination. The only thing I ask is that you share your weekly writings. This will help you be a stronger writer, and you’ll get feedback from me and others. It’s not as intimidating as it might seem … I promise.
In order to have a great story, you need several things. The first element we’ll discuss is the importance of good characters. We’ve all fallen in love with a character; there is a reason movies based on books can flop at the box office: the actor didn’t quite capture what we envisioned our beloved character to be like.
Create a character that either the reader will love to love or love to hate. The next step is to create him or her. Remember, show; don’t tell. Instead of telling us what the character is like, have your character say or do things that reflect his or her personality.
Telling example: Jimmy was a naughty little boy who compensated for his small stature by destroying things.
Showing example: Jimmy struggled to raise his 4 foot frame far enough to peak into Mrs. Baxter’s front picture window. There she sat with her white head bowed over a bird puzzle. Jimmy snickered and eased himself down, tip-toed around the old lady’s house, and began pulling up her prize petunias by their roots.
So, your first assignment is to create two main characters. Usually you have a protagonist (good guy) and an antagonist (bad guy). You can, of course, write a romance. Naturally, you’ll have the two love interests. Write a paragraph or two about each of the two characters: what will they do? What do they look like (keep away from stereotypical good guy/bad guy looks … make the character unique enough to grab the readers’ attention)? Why is there tension between the two? What do your characters do for a living? Does one of them die at the end of your story?
I hope you all join in this writing experience. It will be fun to read everybody’s ideas. I can’t wait! Have ideas posted by next Wednesday, December 18. If you have specific questions, please ask me. I’ll help you out any way I can. If you aren’t a big writer, but you know someone who loves to write or who you think would enjoy a literary challenge, please pass this along to them.