Building strong characters demands vigilance from the writer. Flat characters are boring. We all know that. I realized that to tell the true story of Ferenc and Musa meant I could not portray them as the heroes my friend Barbara knew. She adored them but knew them after their escape. Character flaws play a critical part in drawing the reader into the story as do their positive traits. Traits create conflict and tension. (Easier said than done.)
Yeah, yeah. Show, don’t tell! Got it!
An author who tells how a character is perceived can do that in one sentence. But the richness of dialogue shows more about him. His interaction with another or his own thoughts allow the reader to fill in the details and form her own impression. The perception of the reader can be revised through information about the character’s back story or contrasts between his public or private persona.
As authentic as we might think we behave in our own lives, we have different ways of relating in a group or one-on-one. Is the scene under “stormy” conditions or “sunny?” During the progression of the plot, does the character evolve?
Wow, I am inspired to revisit all of my characters.
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