Elana Johnson, Jen Daiker and Alex Cavanaugh are hosting The Blogging Experiment: Writing Compelling Characters. Me, and a couple of hundred others are taking part - YEAH!!
WRITING COMPELLING CHARACTERS:
If there are no more than seven separate storylines:
1 - [wo]man vs. nature
2 - [wo]man vs. man
3 - [wo]man vs. the environment
4 - [wo]man vs. machines/technology
5 - [wo]man vs. the supernatural
6 - [wo]man vs. self
7 - [wo]man vs. god/religion
why do I need enough room on my shelf for more than fourteen books. Why would I even need to make space for fourteen, rather than seven books? I guess because, unlike our perceptions of teen boys, I can read the --- other gender ;)
Characterisation is the reason why people can read over 100 books in one genre.
The characters, with their unique traits, their strengths and weaknesses, take the basic storylines to the most amazing places.
I have held books in my hands and refused to stop turning the pages long enough to dry the drips falling from the end of my chin. Laughed, so hard my sides have ached. And learned more about the need to check the windows before going to bed from novels, than I ever did from any health and safety lecture.
THE LADYBIRD BOOK PICTURED ABOVE IS THE REASON WHY I WRITE PARANORMAL ROMANCE. MY PIVOTAL MOMENT, AGED SEVEN.
Characters are the compelling force in the novel.
i want lestat. can i have him?ReplyDelete
Sadly, he is busy compelling others!ReplyDelete
Lestat is one of my favorites.ReplyDelete
LeStat is definitely one of the best vampires out there! Good point about how its the characters that keep up us picking up books, they make the plots matter even after we've read the same plot over and over.ReplyDelete
I think the seven basic storylines, or Virginia Woolf's one basic storyline, or whatever other oversimplification narrative analysts reach for just doesn't matter. It's like asking why people should care about more than more mammal.ReplyDelete
I used to think I was a plot person, but really its the characters that drive the plot.ReplyDelete
it's all about the characters. Well said. For me, if the characters fall flat, the story falls apart.ReplyDelete
Elaine, I love your post, it is beautiful in its simplicity. Characters ARE the main reason I read.ReplyDelete
~that rebel, Olivia
Christine, Margo and lexcade you can have Lestat if I get to keep Louis.ReplyDelete
Thanks Christine - I kept it short and anti-rambly :)
Hi Margo - it is true, trust me I'm a Christine Feehan - guilty as charged.;)
Hi Patti - that must be you coming over to the darkside. Plots are great but I am very rarely surprised by twists. There are so few twists available for a writer to spice up the plot.
Carolina you and me and the vlog too. It is the characters for me, all the way. ;)
Hi Olivia *blushes Thanks :)
Hi John CHAT TIME! Plots are simple because human needs are. These are satiated, understood, driving factors or they're not.Thanks for making me think :)
I like the way you used your bookcase to illustrate why we will keep reading the same storylines. It' all about how we relate and care about a character.ReplyDelete
I agree Tricia. If I cannot care about the characters, or relate to the circumstances they find themselves in, I don't continue reading.ReplyDelete
Characters really are an incredible part of the story - there are characters I literally fall in love with and sometimes when you finish reading a book it's like losing a best friend. :)ReplyDelete
Michelle M was quite succinct. And Elaine, you're right. It's the characters that keep us coming back for more.ReplyDelete
The good thing about book characters is their durability. They sit on the shelf and wait for you, they are endlessly patient.
It is all in the characters: whether your love them, hate them or the scare you half to death.
And characters are as varied as people themselves, which means there's an infinite supply.ReplyDelete
Oh, and since all of the characters in my upcoming book were men, I felt no urge to make any of them hot. It just wasn't going to happen.
Characters make or break every story. They are also my favorite part.
Great post! Characters make the story. We need a reason to care about what's happening ;o) Excellent point!ReplyDelete
Characterization is one of the main parts of a story! I find protagonists who aren't really there and kicking a major drawback.ReplyDelete
Great plan with your males. I don't need traditionally "hot" I crave twisty rather than needy.
Hi Melissa and Erica
Characters? Clues in the word. We don't use the phrase: "He's a real character" about just anyone. I think they have to have depth, and quirks, to be characters.
I agree with your need for a character to be doing more than plain-sailing through their world. Some best selling books seem to have "vehicles" around which a clever plot is woven.
Great post i agree hit the nail on the head, and in a nutshell, chracters make the story!ReplyDelete
Hope you enjoyed your champpers last night! and are having a wonderful weekend.
Ps getting right on the marina and the dimaonds front! always forget to add her in the player when im updateing!ReplyDelete
Serena ;) My Shampain was more esoterically musical. Compelling characters put me through the wringer!ReplyDelete
I love your last paragraph. I remember laughing so hard reading one of Sophie Kinsella's books, 'Can You Remember Me'...and feeling so scared for Scout in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' whilst she was out with Jem in the dark! I agree with all that you say. Another great post about 'compelling characters.' I'm a new blog friend :) I also love your background - trees! :)ReplyDelete
Len - Hi :)ReplyDelete
I'm a tree fanatic, can't write without trees featuring strongly.
I agree totally, I was thinking about Scout when I wrote this. She was one of my contenders for a name check at the top. :)
Nicely said indeed! I loved Beauty and the Beast, growing up it was one of my favs fairy tales. ;)ReplyDelete
I was enchanted by the tale then, and to be honest, I still am now.
Such a great idea.
Compelling characters. :)
Patti Gauch (former p of Philomel) said there are no new stories only new ways to tell the same stories... :) Great post!ReplyDelete
I'm always amazed by the differences between novels but the differences are always the quirks that make the characters unique. :)
Such a unique take! And so true, we should all only have seven books if not for a character's unique take on things. Love your angle.ReplyDelete
Isn't it so amazing that characterization can do all that? And I want to know what books had you so engaged!ReplyDelete
*blushes Thanks. Novels are only novel when the characters are .... ;)
Atonement broke my heart.
Characters are the most important part of story and can make even the most cliche of plots worth reading.ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting. I got to about 100 and collapsed in a heap and that was just the winter bug. ;)
How sad it would be if there were only seven (or fourteen) books to read! Characters make so much of a difference!ReplyDelete
I slowly wend my way thru the compelling character blogfest and now stand at your door. I guess the point is that though there may be a limited number of circumstances that a chararcter may face, there are an unlimited number of characters who have to deal with these circumstances thereby leading to an infinite number of stories. Thank goodness for that!ReplyDelete
Tossing It Out