I'm thrilled to be participating in Hank Quense's book tour today; he's been a featured guest on this blog many times and for good reason. Although we've never met in person, I'd like to think I know how just how talented Hank is. This book is a true treasure and needs to be in the library of every writer worldwide.
From chapter 4 of Creating Stories
Nothing tells the reader the author is an amateur quicker than reading about a make-believe cardboard character, one that isn't a “real” person. As you develop this part of your character you will, once again, run into the limitation factor. The more defined your character becomes, the more limitations you'll place on the character and yourself.
In this section we'll cover the mental or inner workings of characters. There are a number of areas involved in this undertaking and it will require creativity and hard work to finish the development. These areas include the character's personality, his dreams, his aspirations and mirages that affect him. The character's philosophy is also an important element here and that will be covered separately.
Personality: Let's start with personality. Here is a definition from the American Heritage Dictionary: The pattern of feelings, thoughts, and activities that distinguishes one person from another. If you scan the web, you'll find a bewildering array of web sites about personality including some heavy-duty stuff from doctors. Basically, it seems to break down into two areas: personality types and personality traits.
According to one theory, there are sixteen types of personality. There are four types in each of four categories: analysts, diplomats, sentinels and explorers. Your character has to be one of sixteen. For more information see .
Within these categories, there are many personality traits. You need to define your character by giving him or her a personality trait or two. Is your character affable, charming, pompous, unfriendly? There are many personality traits that can be used. Once you select one or two, do a web search on that trait to ensure you can write convincingly about that type of personality. There is more information about personality traits here:
Dreams (aspirations): What does your character want out of life? What does he want to do when he grows up? What does she want to achieve? This attribute can influence how the character acts and can provide a measure of conflict. What if she wants to become an engineer, but has to decide whether to stay in college or drop out to help her sick mother? This situation will provide inner conflict.
Memories: These are influencers that characters have. Memories can also be used for foreshadowing and to build up internal conflict. How? Consider this example: as a five-year-old, the character almost drowned. Ever since, she has had a healthy fear of open water. At some point in the story, she sees a man drowning in the middle of a lake. What does your character do? Does her fear of water cause her to ignore the man and walk away? Does she search for a boat to use in the rescue? Does she suppress her fear and dive into the lake?
This inner conflict can provide a memorable scene in the story. Remember though, a heroine has to do heroic stuff. It would be acceptable for a villainess to let the guy drown, but a heroine will have to try to save him, or she won't be believable. If she lets the guy drown without trying to save him, the character will be seen as a phony and the reader will lose interest in her.
Another example will concern a man who was punished as a child by being locked in a dark closet. Now he fears dark basements, caves, alleys and any unlit place. You can see how this memory and foreshadowing can lead to exciting scenes and gripping internal conflict.
Mirages: These are fantasies the character tricks herself into believing. Want an example? Most politicians thinking they have the slightest chance of getting elected President.
Descriptor (or voice): This item isn't the same as the way the character speaks, it's a brief description or summary of the character and the way he thinks and acts. This isn't easy to develop but I believe it's essential to have one for the major and main characters. Once you have the descriptor, it will help you write accurately about the character and his thoughts, his actions, his reactions.
Examples may be the best way to explain the descriptor. A banker can be the voice of greed and will endlessly talk about money and financial concerns. This character will always be trying to get more money, possibly through fraud. A psychopath is the voice of rage, always ready for an argument or fight. A warrior could be described as the voice of chaos. An accountant can be the voice of precision.
If you have any questions or comments on this material, leave a note and I'll respond.
Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories.
He also writes and lectures about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 19 books and 50 short stories along with dozens of articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a third Moxie novel that takes place in the Camelot era.
He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.
You can check out the schedule and follow Hank’s tour by clicking HERE.
There is a tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE'S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). The prizes are courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 18. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.
This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) eBooks of and three (3) print copies of the author’s (U.S. entries only). The prizes are courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 18.
To enter, click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions.
Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out Hank’s book.