David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

On DeepGenre: Building Character(s)

Brian Moneypenny SculptingOn the group blog DeepGenre today, I tackle the question of building characters. Specifically, how do you build three-dimensional, believable characters in your stories? I compare building characters to the art of additive sculpture. Excerpts:

I think it’s more useful to think of the art of characterization as something akin to the art of additive sculpture. When you build a character, you’re not describing an existing personality so much as building one from the ground up… Just like with sculpture, when building characters you’ll often throw in materials that you’ve got lying around the shop. And just like with sculpture, your characters don’t have anything that you don’t explicitly put there yourself…

4. A thematic purpose. Why did you decide to put this character in the story? You should have a reason for every character you’re going to put on paper. If you take the classic Star Wars trilogy, you’ll see that every major character serves a purpose vis-a-vis our protagonist, Luke Skywalker. Darth Vader represents what will happen to Luke if he continues down the path of anger and impetuosity; Leia stands for the home, family, and society he’s trying to defend; Han Solo represents the temptation to abandon community and responsibility; and so on.

Go read and comment on the DeepGenre blog, if you’re so inclined.

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