Friday, June 27, 2014

Reader Friday: Your Protagonist's Character Traits?

According to some writing experts, it's important to give your main character about four distinct character traits. (Some of these traits might even seem contradictory).

Can you identify four character traits of your main character? What are they?

12 comments:

  1. My main character is smart, driven, honest, and self-doubting.

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  2. Jewel is extremely intelligent. She is also loyal, but pragmatic and capable of extreme violence when loyalty demands it. Breezy and brash when she doesn't care, awkward when she does.

    A character asks her why is accepts the worst in people so easily, but has problem with their best and she replies, "Because then I would have to commit."

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    1. I love that come-back, Terri! It makes her sound terrified of loving anyone, which implies a world-class emotional wound.

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    2. They say "write what you know." The best description ever given of my dad was "easy to like and hard to love."

      It's interesting. I'm starting to work with an editor and he is challenging some of my stances on characters. It dawned on me he comes from a different mindset and upbringing. It will be interesting and the outcome should make for a better book.

      AND I missed some great posts while I was in West Virginia at the toy show!

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  3. My bounty hunter character, Grace deHaviland, is one of the best in her business, she's sarcastic and has little patience with others, she's an outcast with only a small, close knit group of friends, whom she is extremely loyal to, and she believes more in moral right than written law.

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    1. Ooh, interesting. The world has to really watch out for those of the "moral right" persuasion. They can inflict a lot of damage along the way!

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  4. I have two main characters, Brad who is the main character in my current WIP, and Kharzai who runs through all of my stories.

    Brad Stone is unsure of his own abilities but dedicated to finishing what is started. He has a deep love for his family, and a dark violent side willing to go far beyond the norm to protect them.

    Kharzai Ghiassi smiles and jokes around a lot, his happiness is geniune and he has no problem killing anyone who gets in the way of that happiness. He is quirky, flirty, fun loving, multi-lingual, and a master assassin.

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  5. My main character is kind, with humor, self-doubting and rather quiet.

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  6. I have two protagonists in my WIP, at the moment.

    Donovan is a rule follower, a traditionalist, has a sense of humor, and is outgoing and committed lifelong to his relationships.

    Tess is a closet introvert masquerading as an extrovert for her career; hates rules, restrictions, and commitments beyond the "now"; has a great sense of humor; and is entirely spontaneous.

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  7. Damn! Lost my first message when I signed in to publish!

    Best course I ever took was sponsored by the RWA, Victoria Chapter. David Freeman presented, and talked about character diamonds: how you give your characters four traits, like the sides of a diamond, and everything the characters do, say, or think ping pongs against the sides of the diamond.

    And, yes, your characters will be more interesting if they, like real people, have traits that fight with each other.

    That said, I start with the diamond...and a lengthy checklist...and then write out the character's backstory until I find the character's voice. Sometimes that happens in the first paragraph of the backstory; sometimes it takes longer.

    But I've learned that I need to hear the character's voice before I start writing the story. Only then does the character write the story for me.

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    1. Hearing the character's voice is really essential before having that character do anything serious. Bio is a good thing, but I avoid thinking about the hair, height, weight, big nose and small ears kinds of things up front. I'm more interested in what I want the character to be doing. Then it's like the character walks out of the shadows and becomes a presence. Interviewing a character is always good. You set up a dialogue between yourself and the character and then anything is liable to happen.

      I try not to force a character. I think I have developed a list of twelve different characters, just waiting to be called into a story. Some will never make it, but that in itself gets interesting.

      I found the interviewing lots of fun. Ask James Scott Bell about interviewing. He writes under various names. One time he slipped in an "interview" on us here at TKZ, where he met this writer at a nice restaurant to interview the guy. The writer turned out to be rude and just terrible. Bell's account went on and on and I was certainly buying the whole account. In fact I was hoping he'd stand up and throw the other writer out the window. Then at the end of the account he made it obvious that he was really interviewing himself.

      So I'm probably a bit slow because I was imagining him sitting at this restaurant by himself and talking with an invisible guy in the opposite chair. And maybe he was doing just that. We'll never find out, apparently.

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  8. Spencer is smart, methodical, and is a born leader.
    Chrys is courageous, caring, and more often than not a fly by the seat of her pants kinda gal. Together the brother and sister team seem to have a little of everything

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