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Writing Characters

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The Bloody Chamber Extract. Katherine Mansfield Miss Brill. The Secret to Simpler Short Story Writing: The Story Object - Writer's Edit. The secret to any good short story is having that ‘a-ha!’

The Secret to Simpler Short Story Writing: The Story Object - Writer's Edit

Moment; the moment where everything comes together for the reader, where all the threads are tied up, and where they stop and say ‘damn, how did they do that?’ We’ve all had those moments as readers, but replicating that from the reverse side of the story, as a writer, is not easy. It was 19th Century American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne who first said: Easy reading is damn hard writing.

" It’s true. Guardian book club Capital. John Lanchester talks about the characters in Capital. John Lanchester on Capital. What’s in a name? How to christen a literary character. “GANDHI!”

What’s in a name? How to christen a literary character

The young Icelandic woman yelled at the top of her lungs, “STOP BITING DARWIN! STOP!” Gandhi – a massive Greenland dog tough enough to take on a bear – was apparently trying to gnaw the leg off Darwin, the team leader. Darwin wasn’t having it, and a moment later one of them accidentally barged into Mandela and very shortly our romantic journey via dog sledge had devolved into a metric ton of canine warfare. It must have seemed like a clever idea at the time to name the team after great thinkers and peacemakers, but as the battle went on, by turns ferocious and merrily amoral, the shouts of the handlers became less and less funny, and finally seemed very sour indeed. I make up names for people all the time – it’s part of writing.

All names are masks, as well as identifiers. “Saw it on a bus in Paris,” he said promptly. I sat down with Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and started making a list of random words I liked. McQueen was fun. What's in a literary name? By Alastair Fowler Names and naming are topics of perennial interest, but until recently there were few general discussions of names as a literary feature.

What's in a literary name?

Name That Character: Top Ten Tips. There are a plethora of movie character names that become everlasting brands in American culture: Rocky, Yoda, Forrest Gump, and Shrek to name a few.

Name That Character: Top Ten Tips

And when it comes to naming characters, you want to choose wisely, which is no easy task. Literature: Lennie Small: the mentally disabled but physically strong protagonist in John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella Of Mice and Men. Drama: Willy Loman: the elderly salesman lost in false hopes and illusions in Arthur Miller’s 1949 play Death of a Salesman. Film: “The Dude”: the unemployed L.A. slacker and avid bowler in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 film The Big Lebowski. Steinbeck’s Lennie is a gentle giant who is “Small” of mind, with a simple dream of tending rabbits. Choosing the right name for a character is key. Getting a handle on naming characters. The writer of fiction is, of course, faced with many obstacles to overcome, myriad problems to solve.

Getting a handle on naming characters

But one recurring problem that's rarely considered until one attempts to write a novel is that of characters' names. Working on two separate fiction projects recently, I've struggled with this. Peripheral figures have been easier, but the leads have been called "John" and, even worse, "Unnamed" for months. In fact "Unnamed" became so familiar to me, and the character so adrift in the world he inhabits, that that was the moniker I settled on (or rather he remained nameless as opposed to literally begin called, say, Unnamed Johnson, which would just be silly). Because characters don't arrive fully formed in your head, they develop over time and after much thought; therefore it stands to reason that the name they may start life with will more than likely change as their personality develops on the page.

Best fictional characters from Sherlock Holmes to Jane Eyre as chosen by 100 literary figures - Features - Books. Everyone who enjoys reading, and even those who do not, have a favourite literary character.

Best fictional characters from Sherlock Holmes to Jane Eyre as chosen by 100 literary figures - Features - Books

From childhood staples such as William Brown and Paddington Bear to classic heroes and heroines like Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet, these figures have resided in our imagination for years and in some cases centuries. One hundred people connected with literature, including writers, directors and publishers, were asked to nominate their favourite fictional creation. Some choices were more surprising than others - author Pauline McLynn chose evil killing machine Hannibel Lecter and said he could eat her kidneys "as long as he fed me an excellent bottle of red wine beforehand".

Building Character: What the Fiction Writers Say - Nieman Storyboard. Think of the great characters from fiction.

Building Character: What the Fiction Writers Say - Nieman Storyboard

Gustave Flaubert’s romantic and unfocused Emma Bovary. Mark Twain’s spunky Huck Finn. Larry McMurtry’s lusty Gus McCrae. Margaret Mitchell’s willful Scarlett O’Hara. Each is memorable because each is a whole person, carefully crafted with a volume full of specific actions, revealing words and individual attributes. The novel rises or falls on the strength of its characters. Even the great popular writers make their millions, at least in part, because they go beyond plot to craft strong characters. Fiction writers have been struggling to find techniques for creating character at least since Homer sent Odysseus on his way. Newspaper writers who hope to capture believable characters in their own work will listen carefully to what their fiction-writing elders have to say.

Fortunately, some fiction writers have given a good deal of thought to their craft. How to write fiction: Andrew Miller on creating characters. First, a note of caution.

How to write fiction: Andrew Miller on creating characters

To slice up fiction into categories such as "plot", "voice", "point of view" or "character" is to risk presenting it in a way that neither writer nor reader normally experiences it. The suggestion might seem to be that the writing of a story or a novel is a strongly segmented or layered activity, something orderly, dry and technical. Proust Character Questionnaire. Character Chart. Task Holly Golightly.