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Adding Depth to Characters

     Both of the links below are recent posts about adding depth to characters.  The first one focuses on the female characters and the second focuses on male characters.  The main point in both is to avoid making your characters too "perfect".  They argue that girls can have crooked teeth and small eyes and that men don't have to be perpetually heroic and self-sacrificing.

Scribblings of My Pen and Tappings of My Keyboard.: Gorgeous Sheildmaidens and Love Interests

       Character development is something that I am still learning.  When I was younger, my characters had no purpose other than to say whatever I needed somebody to say. 
     For example, I have 3 characters in the room.  Somebody needs to say "oh, no!" now.  Whose turn is is to talk?  Well, since #1 and #2 have done most of the talking so far, I will let #3 say "oh, no!" 
     See?  My characters did not have their own personalities.  They were just pawns for their author.
     As I got older, my next step was to assign characteristics to my characters.  They took part in the action and the dialogue as their personality dictated.  However, as I was first learning, each character was pretty flat, having only one or two dominating characteristics. 
     For example: #1 is always patient, #2 is always easily excitable, #3 is pessimistic, and so on.
     This helped my characters to be their own individuals.  You could count on #2 to always overract in any situation, and #3 would always imagine the worst possible outcome.  However, the characters were still pretty flat.
     Now, I am trying to create characters that are more like real people.
     I still don't claim to be an expert on character development but here is my tip:

Pattern them after real people.

      That sounds like a no-brainer...and it is.  I find that first-hand experience is the very best to write from.  If you want to write about a baseball game, go see one.  Understand how it feels, smells, tastes, sounds, looks.  Know what it is like to be there from beginning to finish.
       The same thing applies to characters.  If you want a real character, base him/her off of people you know well.  What is your dad like?  How would he react in the situations in your book?  How about your mom, sisters, brothers, friends, coworkers?
      Pay attention to the people you know.  What are their strengths and weaknesses?  What is some task that they are good at?  What is something that annoys them?  Really learn to notice things about them.
      You can make up a list of characteristics for characters, but if it is not based off of real people it can be just as unrealistic as my flat ones or somebody's overly perfect ones.


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1.  Give Your Characters Flaws None of us are perfect, so our characters shouldn't be either. Gi is a fun, loyal, light hearted girl with big dreams. But she has a flaw that she struggles with throughout the entire story. Pride. She’s very stubborn, independent, and doesn’t want anything from anybody.
2. Use That Flaw to Stretch and Change Your Character Pride gets Gi in quite a few scrapes. Throughout AWGF, she’s constantly battling with it. Everytime she thi…

The Evil Seven Dwarves

Don't count the dwarves in the picture.  There's thirteen of them instead of seven like I was trying to find.  Pinterest isn't perfect, and I'm not a master in digital photo editing.
       But here is part of my twist on Snow White, and I am having more fun with it than you can imagine. 
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Is that a catastrophe happening, way over yonder?

The next scene in my story is meant to be an important one.  Readers get to meet the dwarves in their own evil lair.  My heroine is tormented for their selfish purposes.  Big scene.

     But when I started writing it, it looked incredibly detached and boring.  "Yeah, look over there.  See those dwarves by the table?  They are tormenting our heroine.  Very sad.  The cottage is cute, though."  The scene just wasn't working.  And my story has been sitting in stasis awaiting inspiration.

     Last night, I flopped on the floor to daydream and snuggle my dog.  For a while, I let my mind wander here and there.  But gradually I came to my senses and realized that the first thing I felt on "awaking" was the hard floor.

     Suddenly, I was Moriah, regaining consciousness.  Hard floor.  Noises.  Light.  Hands on my hair.  And the scene came alive for me.  I could hardly wait to get up and start writing again.

     So, if your scene is too detached, try lying on the…