Character Studies

Character tells — it’s one of the cornerstones of spinning a good yarn. In the course of penning my children’s novel, I’ve spent many an hour pondering the fresh wonders, foibles, and flaws that make up my young heroine. Since character is key, whether you’re writing a novel, short story, film script or play, I thought I’d pass on some reflections by seasoned writers:

“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It’s like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backward trying — only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

“There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”
Willa Cather

“I feel as though I know all there is to know about them, even things I don’t write — like how they part their hair.”
Toni Morrison

“What about a chocolate factory that makes fantastic and marvelous things — with a crazy man running it?”
Roald Dahl, from notes that led to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“Major characters emerge; minor ones may be photographed.”
Graham Greene

“I don’t want to make a photographic copy of somebody I know. I want to make someone who never existed, and who at the same time is a plausible person.”
Iris Murdoch

“If you have a skeleton in your closet, take it out and dance with it.”
Carolyn MacKenzie

“It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.”
William Faulkner

May these words of wisdom inspire and enliven your characters — write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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