1. FictionLuvr
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    FictionLuvr New Member

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    New to board - New at writing.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by FictionLuvr, Aug 27, 2012.

    I have wanted to write since high school, more for myself than anything. I have tried to write many times in the past but given up when the characters/plot were flat. I have gotten to the point where I enjoy my characters, but my writing style is not polished. I am constantly editing my story, add points into my story, remove others that don't make sense. I am writing romance/mystery, focused more on the romance. My main characters are a widower and a detective investigating the case. Is this way too 'out there'? What in your opinion makes a strong character?

    Thank you
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Is what "way too out there"? You haven't told us anything about what you are writing, nor about what seems to be giving you difficulty.

    What makes a strong character? That depends on what way in which you want them to be strong. Atticus Finch to me was a strong character in all the ways I would want to be strong. Pasquinel was a strong character in quite a different way. Jack Ryan was a little too good for my taste, so be careful in how much virtue you bestow upon your characters. Major Pettigrew was far more believable. Jo March was quite strong in her way. Elizabeth Bennett was nearly too strong for her own good. Maybe that's why she remains such a compelling character after all this time. Old Ebeneezer Scrooge was so strong as to be repugnant, and so we rejoice in his redemption.

    I suggest that you do some reading, but with an eye toward the characters. Whom do you like? By whom are you repulsed? Why? Strong characters tend to produce strong emotional reactions (in either direction).

    Good luck.
     
  3. Wolfwig
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    Wolfwig Member

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    I was in the same boat not too long ago. I did some creative writing in high school and college but abandoned it for nearly twenty years before the stories in my head forced me to jump back in the game. I write because the ideas come to me and I love doing it. That being said, the weaknesses in my writing (style, development, etc.) continue to haunt me. What keeps me encouraged is the gradual realization that my weaknesses are getting ... well, weaker - or stronger, depending on how one looks at it. Basically, I feel I'm getting better at writing, the more I do it. I've learned to read for style and development, taking stock of what works and what doesn't. I've also become aware of the fact that a really good story or poem rarely starts out that way. Listening to and reading numerous author interviews, I take comfort in the confessions that getting started is a long process. Julian Barnes spent eight years working on his first novel. David Wroblewski took ten years to write The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Wallace Stevens published his first book at the age of 44, even though he had been writing since his days at Harvard.

    Constant editing is part of the game. Adding and subtracting are always necessary. However, sometimes I find that a complete rewrite is the best course of action. Finish a first draft, spend a long-long time editing it, put it out of sight for a few weeks or months, pull it out and read it, then take the 10-20% you really like and create an entirely new story with it. If necessary, repeat the process again. Living with the characters for a while and letting them engage new and unexpected scenarios will help them to get stronger. There's no formula - it's all about time, movement, and growth.
     

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