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Monday, October 01, 2007

Characterization - Founder’s Favorite

by Ronie Kendig from Double Crit editing service

I love ice cream. Not just any ice cream. I’m addicted to Cold Stone—and not their plain Jane flavors. Mix it up. Make it unique. Founder’s Favorite blend with cheesecake ice cream instead of regular. And I’m just as picky when it comes to my characters. James Scott Bell in his book Plot & Structure says not to let your character “plop into your plot like plain vanilla.” If your reader does not care about your character, they won’t finish the story, which means that great scene you have planned for page fifty-seven will never get read. The most important part of any story is the character.

So, how do you make a Founder’s Favorite or a Strawberry-Banana Rendezvous? How does one get past blasé and thrill until the reader needs an oxygen mask? The key, of course, is your character. Have you interviewed your main character? Had a chat with her over a latte? Inquired about his relationship with his father over a juicy burger? No? Why not? They’re the ones with the answers! Seriously—sit her down, ask her what her career goals are, why she’s doing what she’s doing. When he reveals he’s going to UC San Diego for his master’s, ask him why he chose UCSD over UCSF. When my heroine informed me that she was an underwater archeologist, I asked why she chose that over marine biology. Those tiny little elements of inquiry make a HUGE difference in how your character will respond to each situation.

Digging deeper, layering your story with in-depth characterization, makes the difference that tugs at the reader, makes them care—shows a relatability that will be the chocolate sauce on your Founder’s Favorite. A story to be savored. An author who can be trusted.

Double Crit is a unique freelance editing service that offers high-level critiques of fiction book proposals and manuscripts from two experienced editors. Whether you’re preparing for a conference or getting ready to submit your manuscript to editors or agents, we can help.

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