Posted by: victanguera | April 23, 2008

Characterization

Characterization in our stories is so important. Most people we know will behave the same way in similar circumstances. Like our friends or family members, if our characters behave differently, we wonder what caused them to react that way.

Editing and re-writing sections brings this out. Because I wrote my novel so quickly, I have some large gaps in my story–the kind you could drive a truck through. I have been making notes in the margins, gone back and added more notes and now I’m starting to write new material to try to connect the dots. The challenge is to keep the characterization consistent.

The protagonist is the easiest. Her character is much firmer in my mind. The one person who has been allowed to read what I wrote commented that her character stayed constant throughout. Good to know. This is something I want to make sure stays through revisions. That might be harder as her character could morph on me without my knowledge. Although I think she’d get pretty mad at me if I tried to push her into something she didn’t want to do–ask me how I know.

Things get trickier with the antagonist. As the story developed, the actual antagonist wasn’t who I expected it to be. He remains in character throughout, but isn’t actually developed enough, so now I need to flesh him out. Tavi also doesn’t know who the antagonist is, and because I wrote in first person, the reader can’t either. How he and Tavi interact is integral to the story, and needs to be developed even further.

I also have a problem with characters disappearing on me. Not that they died or anything, they just forget to show up after a certain point. No explanation either. I need to determine if these characters are important to the story or not. At least one seems to be. One scene revolves around her, and I’ve already got an idea how to resolve that problem. The other character, not so much. He seems important as he interacts with Tavi and imparts information she needs to know, but disappears about three scenes before the end of the book. And I know I don’t want him too, so need to figure out where he went and why.

Maybe if I do a better job developing his character, he won’t disappear on me. Maybe.

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