Thoughts,  Writing Notes

Writing Character Crafting

In both fiction and nonfiction, character crafting is important. By crafting I mean, how you present a written person to readers, whether real or fictional. If a real person, then you want to be careful not to allow your interpretation of their actions to slip into the retelling of the account. While you are not a journalist, you also want to present an unbiased view of everyone.

With a fictional character, crafting is more hands on. When crafting a character, strive to keep them from being one dimensional. This does not mean that you have to make the villain sentimental, but you do need to make every character interesting. Some will get more attention than others, but they all should serve the story.

Some characters will engage the reader into the story, others will engage the reader to know more about the character. This can be overdone, for example, the messenger on page 5 that we will never see again, needs to engage the reader into the story. We don’t need to know his family history, but the character who pops up in chapters 4, 5, and 6, should be more fleshed out.

Strong characters deserve a strong plot, and vice versa, but this is relative to the length of the story. In a short story, the details can be a shorter list, but in a novel, they need to be more substantial. Details can be a writer’s friend, or a trap door. If used correctly they further the story and deepen interest. If used incorrectly, they will cause readers to lose interest, trail off the page, and out of the book.

A good character should have a motive if not an agenda, there is a difference, some will have both. They should be interesting, not one dimensional, and their story should always be second to the story itself. Tomorrow let’s talk about how the story should serve the reader, but for today remember that the character should serve the story.

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