Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Summer Workshop . . . and Character Personalization

We've got a full schedule for our Summer Writers Workshop
on July 12 & 13, 2013. You can register on the right. ------>
Characterization

As I write this post, I've also been listening to Richelle Mead's newest contribution to her Vampire Academy breakout series, Bloodlines. This is the third book with Sydney and Adrian. Now, Adrian (a Moroi-- "good vampire" who can do magic and doesn't burn up in the sun but is fatigued by too much exposure to it) is very different than human Sydney (an alchemist whose people help the Moroi but only because alchemists view them as evil and must be kept from humans)

One of the things that strikes me as I listen to these books (I'm a huge audiobook fan) is how well Mead handles the unique and often quirky personality differences between Sydney and Adrian. And I'm not just talking about the fun voice differences the reader provides.

Adrian is a recovering playboy. Kind of. lol He's funny and he's flirty and he's self-denigrating. Adrian's flawed and still finding his way as he deals with his magic (which could eventually drive him insane--literally). Some examples of his comments
“I know how devastated you must be to miss me, but leave a message, and I'll try to ease your agony” 
“Who is he?"
"An idiot," said Adrian. "Makes me look like an upstanding member of society.” 
“You look confused," said Adrian.
I shook my head and sighed. "I think I'm just overthinking things."
He nodded solemnly. "That's why I try to never do it.” 
Now the books are written in first person--from Sydney's POV--so we don't get into Adrian's head the same way, but his comments do a great job of showing the reader what frame of mind he's in at the moment.

Mead has more flexibility with Sydney because of the first person writing, but I think this is where the author excels. The things that Sydney notices and thinks about are so "Sydney." She's brilliant, analytical, and totally a novice when it comes to feelings. Even her battle scene descriptions reflect how she views the world. She's a rule keeper and even her internal thoughts reflect that--if she's trying to break into someone's apartment and the ratty fire escape looks like it needs repair, she'll wonder why someone didn't report it, all while she's hanging two or three floors above the group.

This is what we need to do with our characters. Make sure that we're capturing the uniqueness that is each one. Do you have any tips for doing that?

1 comment:

Renae W. Mackley said...

that's a toughie. My best unique characters are the ones that I have modeled after someone I know well. (Not so unique, eh?) At least it's easier to imagine what they do and say when we know a character well.
Are any of the classes held online or notes available?