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Writer’s Tools: Part 3 – Visit With Roz
Writers' Tools

Writer’s Tools: Part 3

Characterization: Part 1

Characters tell the story. They should be memorable. The reader should be able to visualize them in all their moves.

A writer must know her characters. Everything about them is important in developing their actions in the unfolding story. When the author knows her characters, they will take the lead and only act in ways that are true to their natures. It is wise to know as much about them as feasible at the very beginning of the project.

For each of the main characters, these questions must be answered. Where was she born? What is she like? Who are her family members and friends? Where did she go to school? What are her favorite colors? What type of car does she drive? Is she known for her easy smile? What are her hopes and dreams? Is she close to her parents? Does she work? Where?

Depending on the plot, other issues about your main character must be answered. Is she married, divorced or widowed? Does she have children? Are there special people in her life? Does she have a secret no one must know? Is she easily distracted?

Every move your character makes must reflect the answers you supplied to questions about them, their past history and hopes for the future. In Secret Lives, Dreema was a woman who never hesitated to make hard decisions when her survival was at stake. Right away one gets the impression she is serious, determined and fearless, when necessary.

As an author builds her character, from the start she must have a solid description of that character. It is necessary so the author can have a clear picture of her in mind as the story moves forward. The author will see this person as she walks, talks, laughs or just sits quietly sipping a cup of coffee. If the author does not have a believable description of the character, neither will the reader. Depending on the development of the story, it may be more important to describe the character’s physical attributes over several scenes, instead of listing all those attributes in one scene.

Remember characters and their actions tell the story and provide the drama.


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