Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing Compelling Characters Blogfest!


Elana Johnson, Jennifer Daiker and Alex Cavanaugh are hosting this awesome blogfest!

Their purpose is to see how differently every one of us thinks about a single thing. Writing a compelling character. (Yeah, right, they just want to hear our secrets!)

;)

Okay, I believe this will be one fun day. Or two . . . As of now, there are 152 participants. It'll take me a few days, but I promise to visit everyone and leave a comment. I hope you won't mind me jotting notes--this will be one AWESOME writer's conference on how to write a compelling character!


here it goes, my SECRET:

My Word processor's definition for compelling says "holding attention: attracting strong interest and attention."

First of all, I would like to think that I can write compelling characters. It's always good to have a 2nd opinion, though! ;)



Can a story be compelling without compelling characters? Or can a character be compelling without a compelling story?

Like actors in a movie, I believe that they can make or break the show. Same with books. Our MCs can make or break the book.

My formula:

When I write, I'm by the seat-of-my-pants kinda person. My characters are born well-rounded. They are alive the moment I spell out their names. I endow them with strong passions--whether for want of love or writhing in hatred. I love to delve into their minds and make the reader experience their anguish or sorrow or anger.



If my character can make my readers cry, angry or joyful--I've written a compelling character.


The character will refuse to die long after the book has been closed.


What are your beliefs in writing a compelling character?






Let's see how other blogfesters feel about writing compelling characters!




photos found at bing images

59 comments:

  1. Great post, sugar! Yeah, I agree. If my characters live long after the book has been closed, then it's been successful :o) xx

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  2. I love those characters who stick with you. The ones you remember long after the book goes back on the shelf.

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  3. I agree! Above all, characters have to make us feel something!

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  4. Strong passions definitely! I agree, if a character can make me feel their joy or make me cry - well, they've definitely got me.

    Happy weekend! ;)

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  5. Your pictures make me think you're building your characters from the inside out. ;)

    I agree about the emotions. Strong emotions help us connect with the character.

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  6. I agree with you Elizabeth, to invite the readers into participating in the character's journey and sharing in their ups and downs, joys and sorrows makes for compelling characters.

    http://rachnachhabria.blogspot.com/2010/09/13-elements-of-good-story.html

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  7. I like when you mention about the "passion" in your characters. Just like in real life. Great post!

    Doris

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  8. I agree - a story only works for me if the characters draw me in. A great story with lame characters isn't a great story.

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  9. Hi

    I think you hit on the nail there!! MCs can definitely make or break a book. If I don't care for the characters the story fails, but if I love them from the word go, then the story is all the better for them! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on great characterisation! Take care
    x

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  10. i think you've hit it spot on. If they can move you, then your characters are likely to move your readers! And that tattoo is wild!

    P.S. Thanks so much for adding my contest to your sidebar! :D

    (also, I noticed this site isn't connected to your blogger profile. Took me some doing to find it again! Just thought I'd let you know!)

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  11. totally with you on the 'rounded and fully formed' and the passion or emotion they need to hold, even if it is repressed. I also need THINKING characters (not necessarily rational, but in a way I can see why they do what they do)

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  12. Thats a great criteria! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. I think any time a character evokes emotion, you've written a compelling character.

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  14. Yes! This is a wonderful post, Elizabeth - but I think my favorite part is the pictures you chose!! LOL. :-)

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  15. Haha, yeah they just want our secrets! Thanks for posting :)

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  16. Great post! I love it when characters hang around after the book is done.

    I can' help but wonder if that guy is tattooed on the front, too.

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  17. Characters who stick with me are my favorite, a lot of times I find myself thinking about them long after the fact, imagining other parts of their life, how things could have turned out differently.

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  18. Hey Elizabeth - A character will come to me, but it usually takes me some time to discover all of his or her secrets, wants and desires. I love when I can't stop thinking about a character though. That's when you know the writer did a great job.

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  19. It's so great when someone besides me connects with one of my characters. I love it when they live for someone besides just me. I enjoy the process of getting to know my characters.

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  20. Hi! *waves*

    I love characters that stick with you after you've finished reading their stories. Those are the absolute best kind. And no, I don't think you can have a compelling story without compelling characters. If they're not interesting who cares what happens to them? But I think you can have compelling characters but a dull story. That makes me sad, though. I want to see good characters with something substantial happening to them!

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  21. I agree - they must make us feel, and the best ones are those we remember after the book's back on teh shelf. Great post.

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  22. I love characters and stories that breathe after I've closed the book. I like to revist those ones more often.

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  23. Sometimes the characters I create come out just the way I want them, fully-formed and ready to roll, but sometimes I really have to work on them, tweaking here and changing things there.

    I love characters who don't leave once I've shelved the book. Ones that stick in my mind and that I can remember!

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  24. awesome! And true - there is nothing better than a character that lives on long after you've finished the book. Those are the books I can read over and over again and never tire of them :)

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  25. That's great that your characters come fully formed! I can't say that always happens for me. Sometimes I have to flesh them out.

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  26. Great post! Love the pics, too!

    I think I'm like you. My characters come out mostly fully formed and well rounded. I spend time giving them backstories, but I never really sit around thinking about their personalities or anything like that.

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  27. I love when a character I've read about sticks with me, invades my brain, and makes me think about her/him long after the story has ended.

    Great point, and I love the images you chose!

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  28. defo a you have to feel along side the characters that are showing you why they are the way there are!

    Who's the characters that have stayed with you long after the final page?

    Thanks for popping into I see you see! and the fabby comment Love the comment love!

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  29. I totally agree with everything you said. I want my characters to live on long after the story is over. Well done!

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  30. Yup, you make some great points. Love your blog too.

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  31. Nice!

    It is so true that one needs to write strong emotions into a character.

    I love your blog's look, btw.

    Will definitely be back :-)

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  32. I wish I could create a three-dimensional character from scratch by-the-seat! I need to think carefully about the character, even a short character sheet, and add layers and layers until I feel he/she is compelling enough. Even now, my MC in my WIP is still evolving.

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  33. So right! Great post. No one likes a character that can't make them feel something.

    Your blog is so pretty! Thanks for your stop by mine!

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  34. Super post! I agree that the emotional bond must be strong between the reader and the character. Good points!

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  35. I agree: strong passion! Great post, Elizabeth!!

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  36. I still remember Auggie (tho I know I'm spelling his name wrong!) so I know you've succeeded!

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  37. Nice post. Wow! I LOVE your compelling photos! Where do find subjects like that?

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  38. Thank you! I was sweating a bit after reading so many posts about filling out character sheets, etc. While I do jot stuff down to stay on track later on, my characters pop out alive and kicking.

    Thank you so much for calming my doubts.

    ~that rebel, Olivia

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  39. Yes! I think characters are compelling when they live on after the book is closed. This, I think, is different for everyone, but that's what makes books so great. There are so many to appeal to the many varied tastes out there. :)

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  40. Yes, definitely if a character invokes emotion in the reader, that's an awesome thing! Those are the characters I'm going to want to spend time with. :)

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  41. I do agree with you on the bit about characters living on long after the book has been finished. The best characters actually become a part of your life!

    And sorry about the trouble you were having signing onto my blog. Blogger was acting funny with me too this weekend and not letting me follow anyone. That seems to be sorted out now (I could follow you), so do try again sometime.

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  42. This has truly been an adventure. My butt hurts from so much sitting, visiting everyone's blogs. It's sad to come across some that don't exist. *sigh*
    I didn't leave a comment on everyone's blogs. Sorry, I feel bad. But doubt not that I'm following! What beautiful blogs you have!

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving your thoughts. I love my lurkers, too!

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  43. Thanks so much for visiting Middle Passages. It was a fantastic blogfest, wasn't it! I'm still plugging through, amazed at how much talent and thoughtfulness is out there.

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  44. I agree--one of my favorite comments to hear from readers is that I made them cry! Emotions are very important. You asked in your comment on my post if detailing an MCs emotions can be over done, and my answer to that is that ANYTHING can be overdone. It's the getting it just right that we all need to play with---that's why I love you looking at this blogfest "experiment' as a writer's conference. It totally is! Dang, wish I would've thought to take notes along the way.

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  45. Yay for characters that refuse to die - even when you kill them!

    And I never did think about this blogfest as being a writing conference, but I guess you are right! Good presentation for the "writing compelling characters" hour :)

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  46. I like how you said MC's can make or break a book. SO. TRUE. Nothing makes me close a novel faster than boring characters (oh and then purple prose)

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  47. Well said. An emotional response to a character is a sure sign that you've connected with your reader.

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  48. I agree, if the characters provoke emotion in the reader, we know our job has been well done!

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  49. I too, am a wing-it girl when it comes to characterization. Although, there are certain points I need to write down just to keep them in check, I find when my character evolves along with the story, both work better together.

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  50. Fabulous post! Love the pictures!

    Yes, I need my characters and the characters I read about to illicit some type of emotional response from me. If not, why bother!

    I'm still working my way through that list of blogfest participants! It may take me several days!!

    Happy Monday,
    Jen

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  51. Like the picture of the back tat. When you say that the characters will out live the story that's a good point to remember. I never quite thought about that, but now that I do I'm thinking of all these characters and in real life I can see myself saying: "You know, so and so might be doing it this way." Good posts. I'm glad I stopped by.

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  52. Great post! You definitely bring an emotional component to your writing that makes your characters so compelling you have to read more!!! :D

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  53. That's a great way of describing what makes a compelling character compelling: they stay with you after the book is over.

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  54. Just straggling thru. I think a story can be compelling but then it's merely a report of something like might be found in a newspaper. A compelling character truly fills out a story to make it memorable. It's more plausible to have a compelling character without a compelling story and have it be memorable--in my opinion. I want to know the people first and then know their stories if I am going to really care about them.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  55. I love when characters pop into my head fully formed! It's so much fun to meet them :)

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  56. OK who gets so many comments on a blog? YOU!! How cool. I have absolutly nothing to say. I don't do characters I do humor but if I did of course they would be compelling lol
    Just dropped by to say HI.

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  57. Interesting. I'm fairly sure some of my characters appear in my head fully formed, too, it just takes me rather a long time to get to know them. Do you think we really invent our characters, or are they somewhere out there the whole time waiting for us to discover them?

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  58. Passion is huge. It drives the character, motivates them, controls their actions. Definitely one of the most important aspects for creating a compelling character. Great post.

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  59. The character will refuse to die long after the book has been closed.

    There's the litmus test right there! If a character resonates long after the book is closed...mission accomplished!! Excellent suggestions. Sorry it took me so long to make it over...but I'm glad I came!

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