Friday, June 19, 2009

Imagination to Ink : Characters – Part Two

We tried out a small exercise and your imagination soared. Let’s analyze this exercise. You could outline a perfect character sketch from the description of the room. How did this actually happen? As I said before, an image instantly sprang before your eyes. But how did you really go about concretizing that image? By a very simple technique. Asking questions.
The articles in the room were suggestive enough. A person using a computer frequently lived in this room for sure. And he was so busy that he couldn’t even finish his sandwich, right? So, what do you think he does with his computer? Draws cartoons? Is he an animator? Perhaps that’s his profession! That certainly adds up to the picture of the monkeys on the wall. A hand-sketched picture, which meant probably that the picture, was drawn by the person in the room. What do the fresh flowers and the dog’s leash indicate? This person must be good-natured and loves animals. He owns a dog, who is naughty enough to upturn the paper basket? Or the person is so busy working on the computer, that he is neglecting the dog? What age do you think he or she is? Back ground. . .So you see, the more questions you ask about the character, the more you probe and the more you imagine!
A well-defined and well-described character gives a whole lot of strength and realism to a book. But to make the character believable, you need to work on him. Now you will understand that your character must stand the test of certain questions. How old is the character, how does he or she look? Hair, eyes, teeth, smile, height, weight? Does he have some special characteristics or behavioral oddity? What are his educational qualifications? Is he highly qualified or barely managed to scrape school? Is he working, rich, poor—what is his background? Does he come from a cultured, reputed family or is he an orphan? What religion is he? Does he pray regularly? All these questions, in context to your story become extremely relevant, even giving a direction to your story.
This not only applies to the central character, but also to the other major and minor characters, supporting the story line. Each character is important in whatever role he or she plays. Just be careful that you don’t pile the novel with unnecessary personalities, cluttering the scene. Every character must contribute to the development of the novel.
In a nutshell - the more you know about your characters, the more credible and interesting they will be within your plot. And certainly more endearing to the reader!

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