Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Diva, a Thug, & a Private Dick All Walk Into a Bar...

Got character?

Oh, man. I'm so pleased with my comments and reviews coming in for Widow's Row. How fun to see them from strangers, which BTW are simply friends I haven't met yet!

Hmmm, I say. The best feedback seems to be about my characters.

Here's what I know:

  • Do your character interviews. EVERY character. Even the postman who always rings twice.  Know them well enough that you dream about them!
  • Use dialogue true to your character. Even if you don't like it. If your character would say that icky word that starts with a C, and of course if your publishing house guidelines allow, then USE the C word.
  • More about true dialogue. "You've got...." is horrible English. But guess what? We say it! You've Got Mail!
  • Dichotomies. Characters are complex. Good people do bad things. Bad people have soft sides. Smart people do very dumb things. You get the idea. Give your characters dimension.
  • More than dimension, give every character meat. Imagine that you are writing a screenplay. What does your casting agent have to work with? What have you given the actor to sink his teeth into so that he becomes this character? Think of Al Pacino in The Scent of a Woman. Novelist Giovanni Arpino and screenwriter Bo Goldman gave Pacino so much character that he ad-libbed the famous 'who-ahhh'. Would we all be so lucky for Mr. Pacino to enhance our work.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post, Lala. And your characterizations and dialogue in WIDOW'S ROW is spot on. Great advice. Thanks.