Friday, February 26, 2010

Creative Writing Session #4

Now that the group is getting to know one another, they are more comfortable sharing of themselves.
First: welcome the group. Do a check in of their writing work.

Following last week's discussion, we were working on developing character.
I created a Picture Game – cards with images of people cut from magazines, pasted on recipe cards. Having them select the cards, 3 each. The task: Create a biography of 3 – 5 people they see.

We debriefed: is it was or hard to create a biography of someone you simply see? Guided Imagery #D

Take participants on a journey into the city. Imagine you are on a subway. Who do you see with you? Where are you going?

The train pulls into the station. The conductor opens the window beside you.
He asks,

“Who are you?

What are you looking for?
What do you know for sure?”

A person sits down in front of you. Look at them.
Who do you see with you? Where are they going?
What do they look like?
You get off at the next stop.

How do you develop character?
You need to have a deeper understanding of your character than the reader. Some suggest fillling in a job application for the character. You can make a list of the basic characteristics of the character:

Here is a basic list of character details to help you get started:

                * Name                * Age                            * Job                     * Ethnicity                                                *Appearance      * Residence                *Temperament     * Favorite 
                 * Friends                * Favorite foods                * Drinking patterns                 
 * Phobias                    * Faults

What’s in a name?
Names are important.

'You wouldn’t have a character named Charles who works at the local Gas-n-Go. He would be called Charlie or Chuck, right?'

Once you’ve developed the basic characteristics, you’ll need to dig deeper. Does your character have any pets? Maybe they have strong religious beliefs or maybe they are an atheist. What are there hobbies? Are they single, married, with or without children?

Consider the following:

    * Your character’s secrets
    * Something your character hates
    * Memorable moments in your characters life
    * What are your characters sleep patterns
    * Any illnesses?
    * Nervous tics?

One part of the discussion can revolve around the setting...

What is it every human needs?
Food, clothing, shelter, potable water
This is different than what one wants - for those seeking wants vs. needs, the setting, and plot will be shaped by such.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs: this is how conflict occurs: the characters needs or wants are unfulfilled = conflict between characters or between nature and the participants.

Further to the setting: what about continuity? ALL of these must be in keeping with the temporal setting, modern day vs. medieval times, for example.
  • Clothing     
  • Family Life
  • Climate                   
  • Education
  • Work
  • Technology
  • Communications
  • Transportation

Character Development

From Barrie Summy, she suggested we read:
The Writer's Journey by Chris Vogler
Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood

Then, she suggests:
Also, we can take a book where we love the characterization and deconstruct it. And take a book where we thought the characterization didn't work. Deconstruct both books. Look at what is said when the character is first introduced, how the character grows, how the growth takes places vis-a-vis the plot, etc. Seriously, I learn a ton from taking a book apart.

I found another resource:
Creative Writing Character Development Exercise

Jennifer Jensen suggests asking thought-provoking questions that will reveal character, and then to write character sketches that put your people into action in order to reveal traits that wouldn’t otherwise manifest themselves. Below is a list of probing questions. Pick only two or three to answer and then write a scene to develop the characters in a richer, fuller way than creating a mere list can do.

        * Of what is your character afraid?
        * What gives your character joy?
        * How does your character show love?
        * What makes your character angry?
        * How competitive is your character?
        * What does your character think about during downtime?
        * What “unreachable” dream does your character have?
        * What would your character have to give up to realize this dream?

Personality Development
Gives your reader a visual understanding of the character. Your reader will need to know:
[For this worksheet: see Character Analysis 2 at Teachers Pay Teachers.]
Show the reader what kind of person your character is, by describing actions rather than simply listing adjectives.

Develop the character as a person — don’t merely have your character announce important plot details.

Bring the reader into your character’s mind, to show them your character’s unexpressed memories, fears, and hopes.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...