Saturday, January 28, 2012

Taking Control of Your Characters

 Writing Exercise included in this one!

When I write, the words just come out (most of the time). I don't know where they came from and I don't consciously take control of molding my characters.

Now that I'm revising, I need to.

I am the writer. My characters can not tell me what to do. They do not control their own destinies. I do.

I'm going to take a look at my MC's best friend, Jenesse. This is my opening paragraph for Jenesse.

Jenesse Waters was far from the typical librarian-type. She liked things big and bright; gaudy jewelry, high heels, brilliant colors, and she wore them in unusual combinations. She said her "style" made her feel "radiant". Others felt it too. She lit up a room. If you looked at her huge mirrored earrings by themselves, you might say, "Ewww, how awful; who would wear those?", but on Jenesse, they were just right. her accessories were as much a part of her, as her personality. She was enthusiastic and adventurous. You might wonder how she came to work at a library. That story is as unconventional as Jenesse herself.

Yes, there are problems. 

1. I went off on a tangent about her clothes, so much that you hardly see that she is enthusiastic and adventurous, which are important.
2. I tell. I don't show.
3. It's sort of boring and you don't really connect with Jenesse.

Here's what I WANT readers to get about Jenesse:
--She is enthusiastic and has a bubbly personality. She is a friend to all.
--She is adventurous and lives life to the fullest.
--She knows God has a plan for her life and she is actively seeking it.  

Did I accomplish any of those things? 


So, how can I fix it?

I need to take CONTROL of Jenesse. She wanted to flaunt her accessories. I need to write what really matters...her character.

Writing Exercise: For practice at taking control, rewrite my paragraph based on what I want the readers to know about Jenesse (above in red). I will be doing the same.  

Note: It doesn't matter that you don't know any more about Jenesse. This is just practice at taking control of a character and getting across what you want. Some things you may wish to use: Dialog, specific nouns and adjectives, active verbs. Show, don't tell. Post what you write in the Comments Section. I will do the same when I'm done. Sounds like a fun challenge! Let's go!

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