Characterization is an essential tool for crafting compelling fiction.
In his book The Art of Character, David Corbett provides a comprehensive exploration of how to create complex and captivating fictional characters.
Each chapter provides exercises, most of which encourage the writer to develop the character through scenes (rather than lists).
- The craft of characterization is an attempt to honor and explore the truth of human nature through the art of storytelling.
- Developing a character with genuine depth…needs to be forged in scenes, the better to employ your intuition rather than your intellect.
- Characterization requires a constant back-and-forth between the exterior events of the story and the interior life of the character.
- Characters want something, and the deeper the want, the more compelling the drama.
- Complications, richness, and texture come from the conflicts encountered fulfilling a desire.
- There is perhaps no more devastating scene than one in which the character risks vulnerability only to earn exactly what she feared: rejection, disgust, betrayal, contempt.
- In trying to determine the best way for your character to show her spine, return to the underlying fear and write from there.
- The most compelling drama is always good versus good
- Dialog must be rooted in character.
I was fortunate to take a class from David at LitReactor, drawing from his book. He was an insightful teacher. I highly recommend the book (and classes) to sharpen characterization skills.