Wednesday, October 5, 2011

5 Reasons I Refuse to Believe Your Characters

When I blog, I tend to address areas that I struggle with the most; this blog is no exception. In the back of my mind I know that my characters are natural, normal, and identifiable. However, if I can't convey these traits to readers, my characters become irrelevant. I strive to create characters that I KNOW my readers will be able to relate to, but amidst literary rules, the pursuit of prose, and trying to progressively plot these characters can sometime become lost. Ignore me as I critique myself in an attempt to create a reference point to keep my characters pulled and snatched, LOL!

1. They rudely interrupt me...Every time I try to sketch a mental image of your character, you cut me off with a rigamarole of useless details that describe the exterior of your character, but never allowing me to draw my own conclusions. I want to empathize and relate to your character, yet you don't give me the white space to.

2. They speak excessively unnatural. If your character refers to people on every line that they speak, it's hard to trust them. They speak in florid passages in some parts of the novel; but in others, they speak broken English: confusing.

3. Emotions aren't consistently nor accurately depicted. They hate, they loathe, they despise, they covet, they desire, and they conspire, yet the only portrayal of this I read is screaming, yelling and/or crying. I want to trust it, but can't...

4. Your dialogue tags fluctuate between being cryptic and morbidly excessive. If there are only two people speaking and you continue to tag ever line of dialogue, I'm going to be offended. As a reader, I desire to be trusted--not hand-held. Conversely, if there is a room of people spatting lines at each other, unless you have colorfully explained your characters, don't think that I will be able to discern who's saying what.

5. You describe and describe your characters to me, yet you never SHOW them doing what you insist they do. If the antagonist of your book is a bossy, annoying sibling, you need not to keep telling me about it--SHOW ME. Give instances of how her behavior intersects the purpose of the protagonist. Portray her behavior SO clear that I could identify without even reading her name. THAT's a masterpiece of a character sketch.

Now get to making characters that your readers will believe in!


  1. Good post. You will never believe my characters at the NaNo rate that I am going. As a result, they should give "rough draft" a new name.

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