Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger

By Linda Seger

During this booklet, Linda Seger exhibits tips on how to create robust, multidimensional characters in fiction, masking every thing from study to personality block. Interviews with modern-day best writers whole this crucial quantity.

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CREATING SPECIFIC RESEARCH OUT OF GENERAL RESEARCH Sometimes general research leads writers actually to model a character on someone they met. When William Kelley researched Witness, he met models for both Eli and for Rachel. He says, "Bishop Miller himself became a character; he became Eli (although I'd never tell him this). I study character first by carefully looking at the face— the face is the map of the soul—and by listening very carefully to intonations and accents and merriment and if he's putting me on to see if I can tell.

Whether it means interviewing an FBI agent, talking to a psychologist who specializes in clients with obsessive behavior, or asking a carpenter to explain the names and uses of various tools—Who, What, Where, When, and Why questions will usually yield the necessary information. "Get to know your librarian" is also valuable advice for any writer who needs fast access to information. Librarians will either know the answer or have ideas about where to find it. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? Research can take longer than any other part of scriptwriting.

It means that characters, like people, have a kind of core personality that defines who they are and gives us expectations about how they will act. If characters deviate from this core, they may come across as incredible, as not making sense or adding up. As Barry Morrow explains, "Part of the appeal of characters in a film is their predictability. You understand who they are and you have a sense of their history and their code of honor and their ethics and their world view. " Advertising executive Michael Gill concurs, and adds: "I think with characters—just like with your friends—you want a certain consistency.

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