Writing Non-Fiction posted December 19, 2017


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Recipe For Great Characters

by Brett Matthew West


Recently, I have been engaged in several conversations with a Production Manager at MGM Studios in Burbank, California who has expressed a keen interest in my book Astatula. These telephonic discussions have led to me beginning to restructure my first Cody Schroder book into what he termed a Modified Play format. However, that is not what this posting is about.

One of the many aspects of writing we have examined at length is character development. I realize some of you may not have any interest in this topic. That is okay. I learned a long time ago you can't please everybody no matter how hard you may try, and I don't attempt to please anybody with my penmanship, just myself. This is what brings me the most joy in writing. On the other hand, perhaps there is somebody out there in FanStory Land who might be interested in what the man told me.

He suggested when you first create a new character to establish a character profile outline that not only lists such information as their name, age, and physical looks, but also dives deeper into who they really are. Include in this part such information as their consideration for others, how they see themselves, and what are they afraid of.

For him, this was only the tip of the iceberg for character development. He further elaborated to list other traits such as are they a leader or a follower? Do they have a sense of humor? In what situation would they act heroically?

You may also want to toss into this character development profile who influenced them? Who are their enemies? Will readers like them? Why or why not? There are many other aspects that can be included in a character development profile as well.

We have also discussed how to provide depth to a character. He suggested to basically become that person. What he was implying by this comment was to commit to them at a much higher level. and study them.

That's when he told me about what he referred to as the "John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever Syndrome". This, he explained to me meant go to where these people congregate and observe what they do. He attributed this detail as being Travolta's main reason he became "Tony Manero" at the height of the Disco craze and why this character is still remembered forty years later.

Another pointer the Production Manager offered me was to say that a great character is believable. How he walks, how he talks, how he thinks. Every move he makes. Character research is character authentication. To that, I could not agree more. Needless to say, you also require the proper storyline to bring the character to life. Hopefully, something I have stated in this posting will provide a tidbit of value to at least one fellow FanStorian.

These are all qualities this Production Manager has told me he sees in Astatula. (Perhaps a little bragging on myself now.) From a writer's perspective, I happen to consent to that comment. After all, Cody Schroder is the reason the Production Manager and I have held these discussions in the first place.






This is Evan, by Lillibug6, selected to complement all my Cody Schroder writings.

So, thanks Lillibug6, for the use of this incredible picture that has provided Cody with an easily recognizable face here on FanStory.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Lilibug6 at FanArtReview.com

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© Copyright 2018. Brett Matthew West All rights reserved.
Brett Matthew West has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.