1. writer_creativewriting

    writer_creativewriting New Member

    Jul 7, 2007
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    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by writer_creativewriting, Oct 10, 2007.

    I think one of the reasons Hollywood movies work so well is that the big stars come with a ready made attitude. We all know what to expect from actors like Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro and Julia Roberts. No matter what characters they play, we sense their attitudes, their strength and depth, even though we know they're only acting!

    So, the message is that during character development, try to imagine being inside the heads of your characters.

    Don't just give them attributes, histories and agendas; go the extra mile and give 'em attitude!

    *Curtosy of Trent Steele's newsletter which I get via email*

    I would like your views as to how you would give a character of yours some seriously good attitude to make the reader either love or hate them.
    Examples would be fabulous.
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    I've heard this described as the difference between a movie star and an actor. A movie star's character dominates the role he or she is cast into, whereas an actor adapts his or her character to fit the role envisioned by the writer.

    Consider Robin Williams, and the range of characters he has portrayed ove the years. Most people focus on his manic comedy personas, but look at some of the dramatic roles he has played also, such as in One Hour Photo. Love him or hate him, but that is acting.

    From a writing point of view, however, I agree with you. Your characters should be as distinctive as the characters you see in the greatest movies you've seen. They should have strengths and weaknesses, prejudices, annoying and endearing qualities, and most of all depth. You may be able to predict how a character will respond to most situations, but a character should be able to surprise you, just as real people do. And yet the surprising behavior should not be completely out of character. It should make sense when you know a little more about the character than you did previously. For instance, someone who is ordinarily very gentle and comfortable with animals may be irrationally afraid of a particular breed of dog; but it turns out an abusive uncle owned such a dog, and the dog was every bit as mean and frightening to the character as a small child as the uncle was.

    But what is attitude, precisely? Some area in which the character is both passionate and confident about? Does attitude include being so shy around strangers that the character melts into the shadows, trying to be virtually invisible? Or does it only include those things that the character will speak out about, or act out. at every opportunity regardless of who his audience is?

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