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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Creating Great Characters

Last week I directed you to a blog that purports to help us all create "characters who breathe." Only childbirth accomplishes that, but we can create fictional 'people' who become very believable to our readers.

I know my protagonists are becoming real to me when I begin to dream about them. Even before that, they can be warm and realistic on the page.

This week I found another great entry on creating characters. While I don't agree with everything Lee Masterson has to say (for instance, I like to flesh out secondary characters, at least in my own imagination, more than this blog suggests), I do like most of this lesson -- and it may be simpler than having your character fill out a job application, which we did last week.

Names are especially important: A recent survey found that many American readers will not finish a book in which the characters have difficult names. (Forget War and Peace!) Masterson provides some good hints on naming.

Like many novelists, I keep a couple of books of baby names handy. The right name means a great deal, whether with our own offspring or our fictional ones.

What tricks do you use for working with fictional characters?

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