Character Choices for Writers: How to Find What Works

Before you writer ask yourself if your choices make sense for the characters mindsets

Before you writer ask yourself if your choices make sense for the characters mindsets

Everything in writing has to happen for a reason and I have found that what works best is to have everything be determined by the characters. I usually start with the dialogue. It helps me to figure out what my characters need to say by first discovering what their voices sound like. The character’s voice has to make sense!

Crazy is as crazy does

Crazy is as crazy does

For example, in Stephen King’s novel Misery the character Annie Wilkes instead of using swear words says words such as “oogie”, “cockadoodie” and “fiddley-foof”. For most readers these words are very uncommon words in their lives so those words could be a bit hard to swallow. The thing that makes them work is the mindset of the character. In the book Annie feels that swear words have a sort of moral “dirtiness” and so she, with her form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, over-compensates to keep herself “clean”.  It’s like being an actor, when you are playing a character with a “questionable” grasp on reality it opens up your options for character choices because you can go outside of the realm of “normal” behavior. So when your write your characters, be sure that the choices you make as the writer are in line with the characters’ voices and mindsets. Change your mindset

In order to open your mind to different ways of thinking, and different mindsets, it helps to do some research into psychology and sociology. If you’re stuck on what kind of person your character is, or how they think knowing a bit of psychology can really help you generate ideas.

Short post, but I hope you got some useful tips out of it! Bye!!!

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day: Logic vs Philosophy

For this exercise you’re going to imagine a conversation between 2 characters. A proposes a classic philosophical question such as “If a tree falls in the forest and one is there to hear, does it make a sound” and B argues either for or against it based on the principles of logic.

Example:

A: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

B: Of course.

A: But how can you know that? You were not there to hear it?

B: The existence of the sound is not dependent on my having heard it. I might not be able to confirm that I heard the tree fall, but does that mean it didn’t happen?  

A: Um…

B. Bazinga!!! I win!!!!

Hope you have fin with this and I’ll talk to you later!!! Feel free to comment!!

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5 Comments

Filed under Art, Characters, Creative, Creative writing, Dialogue, Ideas, Imagination, Literature, Novel Writing, Playwriting, Plot, Screenwriting, Uncategorized, Writing

5 responses to “Character Choices for Writers: How to Find What Works

  1. K

    As I’ve been editing the novel I wrote last year, my first read-through was trying to make sure the voice was staying true to the character. It can be tough sometimes, while other times the character can just flow. Thanks for your post! 🙂

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  2. YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!! I would take your advice. You’re a great help. Thank you very much. 🙂

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  3. Hiya! Like your blog and this post. Do you find writing how-to books addictive? I think I overdo reading them to avoid my own writing. That said, saw a great quote by D.H. Lawrence about main characters. “..he must have a quick relatedness to all other things in the novel: snow, bed-bugs, sunshine, the phallus, trains, silk-hats, cats, sorrow, people, food, diphtheria, fuchsias, stars, ideas, God, tooth-paste, lightning and toilet paper.” The rest of the how-to book was so-so but worthwhile for that quote alone, I think. Wishing you success with your novel. Will be checking back @ thewriterscafe247 soon. Thank you.

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    • I try not to read too many “how-to” books for writing. I mean I know what works for me and if I get stumped I might look into some of those books to get a bit of inspiration but aside from that they never work for me. I like books that, instead of trying to tell you how to write, give you an overview or analysis of plot and character development. That’s why I read David Mamet’s “Three uses of the Knife”. He doesn’t try to say write like this or that, he just gives an analysis of dramatic development. He intended it for playwrights I think, but the plot element he discusses apply to all forms of creative writing.

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