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 Shop Talk: Types of characters

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Richard Stanbery
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Location : Tennessee, United States

PostSubject: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:09 pm

What do you guys like to do with the character thing? Do you use formulas, such as the Roman stock characters? This was the ever predictable list of characters commonly found in drama from Roman times onward. After all, western audiences have been kind of conditioned to expect this type of formula for the last 2000 years.
Just about all the sitcoms that you see on TV is based loosely on this formula.
Or, do you like to build the characters differently? I like the series approach, as I have the time to develop several complex characters and how they interact with my main character. I also use the first person approach in my books so that I can go a little deeper with the stuff going on inside the main guys head.
What are your thoughts?
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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:24 am

My characters evolve with the story. They show up when needed, so to speak, and create themselves. That is to say, writing about them is rather spontaneous and unplanned. It's almost like I'm watching the scene and people show up.

Later on, I suppose, a reader might say the characters are certain types of people, but I never think of them that way.

Malcolm
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RunsWithScissors
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:29 pm

deleted by merri


Last edited by merrihiatt on Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JoElle
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:43 am

Usually my characters just appear ... and then do what they want to do. Elves and fairies are just that way.

Though I have had real people inspire a new character to appear. I once saw a beautiful homeless man in the Los Angeles area, I was so fascinated by how unusual he looked and acted that my male MC in my next novel was based on him.
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RunsWithScissors
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:46 am

deleted by merri


Last edited by merrihiatt on Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Richard Stanbery
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:18 pm

Art imitates life, doesnt it?
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:51 pm

I base most of my characters on people I have known, and frequently a
composite of several of them. I have always been a "people watcher" and
get many ideas from them. I listen to their accents and vernacular to
help build up my dialogue. Their body language and pecularities are
used in the narrative to support the dialogue.

I like to hear my readers say, "Hey, that's ME!" or "I know that guy!"
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Richard Stanbery
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:50 pm

I get that too! Sometimes people convince themselves that they are the characters in the book, and actually get thier feelings hurt when something bad happens to one of them. I'm like you though, I like to use composits a lot. By the way, I like your beard. Us bearded guys have got to form a union or something?
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:00 pm

Thanks, Richard, I've had the beard so long that I forgot what I look
like without it! I let my (remaining) hair grow out after I retired
from the healthcare field. I call it "my eccentric author look".
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:03 am

Phil Whitley wrote:
Thanks, Richard, I've had the beard so long that I forgot what I look
like without it! I let my (remaining) hair grow out after I retired
from the healthcare field. I call it "my eccentric author look".

Phil, it suits you well, just as Dick's pipe suits him. I have always favored men with pipes and men with beards. Also men in uniform. Shucks, I guess I just plain like men in general! Laughing Wink

Of course, women are interesting, too. Smile
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:11 am

Sorry Richard, I kinda went off on a tangent.

To get back on topic, I must admit that my characters start off with a vague form and then write themselves. Quite often they surprise me.
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Richard Stanbery
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:30 pm

I think that we bearded, smoking, and uniformed guys here are all flattered. Its ok, because we are artists, and so we can enjoy a little flattery in a thankful and friendly way. I like Phils pipe too. Maybe I should get one? It might look well with my beard and Cossack outfit. I would look like a deranged Russian version of Sherlock Holmes (maybe I already do?) jocolor
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Domenic Pappalardo
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:53 pm

I agree with Malcolm...characters must evolve. Like real people, you know nothing about them at first meet. Over time you learn about the person...the same has to be true with characters. Let the reader learn about them as the story moves along.
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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:49 am

On this I agree with Malcolm and Domenic.
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madhatter
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Sat May 09, 2009 2:44 pm

Phil Whitley wrote:
I call it "my eccentric author look".

Okay...so I want to know...how does a female acquire the eccentric author look? I know I have develped a few chin hairs, but... Laughing

As to characters...

I'm like you, Phil. I love to watch people. Plus, I have such a marvelous southern family, I will never run out of material for character traits.
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mjgoodnow
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Sat May 09, 2009 5:04 pm

I base my characters on, basically, expierences as a person. Like what I would do as this person or character. So far, its worked.
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Renz



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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Mon May 25, 2009 10:46 am

My characters are typically a compilation of people I've known and former *tried and tested* formulas on today's audiences. I have used everything from characters from a television series to interesting/fun people in real life.
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Richard Stanbery
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PostSubject: Re: Shop Talk: Types of characters   Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:49 am

I like to use an alter ego of a historical person as a way in contrasting them to reality. I find this works very well in explaining the historical person.

The fact that the alter ego, or shadow character become almost an anti-hero just makes it a little juicier.
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