Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Most of my work is character-driven. The more I learn about the craft of fiction the more I learn....that I really don't know much of anything. LOL!

BUT, what I *think* character-driven means is that I know my characters more than my plot when I write the story, and that shows in the finished product. The characters drive the story rather than the plot because they're more developed. That's not to say that people with Plot-driven works have weak characterization, and vice-versa.

You can be perfect at grammar and craft, and have no readership. Why?

Two reasons I think.

1. Because you haven't made us care about your characters, and
2. Because your plot didn't have that, "Wow!" factor.

What's a "Wow!" factor? I have no idea. It's that thing that a book or movie has that, after the final page closes, or the screen credits roll by, makes you sit there for several minutes going, "Wow."

Okay, so you may not be doing that externally because you don't want to look like a goober in front of your date. Even if it is your spouse. But internally, you're going, "Wow." You know what I'm talking about. I did it last night, after watching the movie, "SERENITY."

It had that "Wow" factor in my opinion. The characters were memorable. Meaning I thought about them long after the movie was over. I'm going to analyze each character from that movie, as to why I couldn't stop thinking about them through last night and today. I'm going to ask myself, "What was it about that character that drew me to him, or her?" "At what point in that movie did I feel compassion, or empathy toward them?" For River, the thing that pops in my mind is when the one crew member wants to toss her off the ship because (they think) she's mentally unstable. They're talking about her like she isn't there only she is. That gave me sympathy toward her. I felt for her and at taht point really began rooting for her more. Actually in one of the first scenes (I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen the movie) River endeared herself to me because as a little girl among classmates she was the only one gutsy enough to stand up for something she beleived in, the only one who had teh courage and insight to question her authority.

Can you think of some of your favorite movie or book characters? What makes them so special to you? I'd like to know the answers. So reply here or email me with your thoughts.

Can you think of some movies or books you've read the last month where the characters still vividly stick out in your mind?

What about last year?

Ten years ago?

Why do you think that is?

How can you make your characters that vivid and long-term memorable?

Food for thought. Make those characters stand out...or sit down, or jump off a building to save a heroine, or face her worst fear for her hero, or whatever it is they do to stand out in the reader's mind.


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