Monday

Characterization

What makes a Character?

This question seems to hold a good amount of weight when it comes to Creative Writing. Almost every narrative story has at least one character, and it is in those characters where we relate and remember, forgive and forget, and liken ourselves too.

But any John Doe with a pen and some paper can create a character... but it's only great writer's who create ones that are complex enough to become part of our lives after we put down the book.

What makes a character fully developed?

To me, I believe it lies within the author's ability to write what is not written directly on the page.

What I mean by this is that the some of the greatest characters in literature (Holden Caulfield, Seymour Glass, Zooey Glass, Franny Glass [I apologize for all the Salinger references... I can't help it]) have the majority of their emotions lie below the surface. Great writers (like Salinger) can give a character such complexity that them not writing something makes the character even deeper. Real people don't go around and gloat about their thought processes and problems, do they? No. So when authors try to develop characters in that vein it inevitably fails.

Although I sadly haven't read much of Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises is sitting pretty high on my to-read list), I believe that his iceberg philosophy of writing can be attributed directly into characterization. His characters in "Hills Like White Elephants" show this perfectly. They are so deep and personal but say so little.

Great characters are complex, but realistic characters who people can relate too. So, great characterization comes from achieving those goals.

No comments: