JOHN OSTRANDER’S WRITING CLASS: DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS

by John Ostrander

grimjackLast week, I wrote about plot and character and I applied Newton’s First Law of Physics – a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force – to both. I want to delve this week a little more into character.

The basics. Every character you write is you, some aspect of you. If it isn’t, the character is stillborn. There’s no life in it. We all have many different aspects to ourselves. Different people bring out those different aspects. Good, bad, indifferent – every character is you. I once described Story as an author talking to him/herself. It helps, therefore, if you are aware of those different aspects you possess.

So the first step in creating a character is finding yourself in that character. It is, however, only the first step – a broad outline. To fill in the character, you need details. You also need to write them down. It’s not real until you’ve put it into words. Having it in your head is all very well but the character doesn’t exist until it’s written. read article