“If your characters cry, your readers won't have to; if your characters have good reason to cry, and don't, your readers will do the weeping.”
People are what they have done, and what has been done to them.Highlighted by 51 Kindle customers
A character is what he does, yes — but even more, a character is what he means to do.Highlighted by 50 Kindle customers
It is also one of the most startling and effective devices in fiction to take characters out of one setting and put them in another, where different facets of their personality come to the fore.Highlighted by 48 Kindle customers
Motive is what gives moral value to a character’s acts.Highlighted by 45 Kindle customers
Characters who violate a stereotype are interesting; by surprising us, they pique our interest, make us want to explore.Highlighted by 42 Kindle customers
Remember that of all these different ways of getting to know people — and therefore getting to know characters — the most powerful of them, the ones that make the strongest impression, are the first three: what the character does in the story, what his motives are, and what he has done in the past.Highlighted by 42 Kindle customers
Self-chosen suffering for the sake of a greater good — sacrifice, in other words — is far more intense than pain alone.Highlighted by 31 Kindle customers
Habits not only make the character more realistic, but also open up story possibilities — a change in pattern might show an important change in the character’s life; other characters might take advantage of her habits; curiosity about or annoyance at a habit might lead to an interesting relationship between characters.Highlighted by 29 Kindle customers
you increase the power of suffering, not by describing the injury or loss in greater detail, but rather by showing more of its causes and effect.Highlighted by 29 Kindle customers
if you make us understand how intensely the character loved before losing the loved one or trusted before being betrayed, then his grief will have far greater power, even if you show it with great economy. If you show a character coping with her pain or grief, refusing to succumb to it, then readers will wince or weep for her. Another rule of thumb: If your characters cry, your readers won’t have to; if your characters have good reason to cry, and don’t, your readers will do the weeping.Highlighted by 19 Kindle customers
PART I: INVENTING CHARACTERS
1. What is a Character?
2. What Makes a Good Fictional Character?
3. Where Do Characters Come From?
4. Making Decisions
PART II: CONSTRUCTING CHARACTERS
5. What Kind of Story Are You Telling?
6. The Hierarchy
7. How to Raise the Emotional Stakes
8. What Should We Feel About the Character?
9. The Hero and the Common Man
10. The Comic Character: Controlled Disbelief
11. The Serious Character: Make Us Believe
PART III: PERFORMING CHARACTERS
14. Presentation vs. Representation
15. Dramatic vs. Narrative
16. First-Person Narrative
17. Third Person
18. A Private Population Explosion
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