Monday, March 29, 2010

Character Ingredients

I only have time for a quick post this evening, but I'd like to use it to share a quote from Isabel Allende that I've had written on a scrap of paper and shoved in a desk drawer for many years now. When asked what she believes every character needs, she said, "A complete biography, a defined personality, and an individual voice."

I'm not the best at any of these things; I tend to let the story draw it out by force (e.g. if I dropped Amarinne in a pool of sharks, what memories would she draw upon, what aspects of self would be revealed, and what choice words would she utter? Rather than meditate on these things without a specific situation as background).

Allende, of course, seems to have no difficulty in following her own suggestions, as her characters are some of the most vivid I've ever encountered in books. For me, though, it's advice to fall back on when I'm stuck.



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