Thursday, October 29, 2009

Creating Interesting Characters

“Therefore if you are going to write about illness, revenge, execution, suicide, dead mothers, boy meets girl, Martians landing on the earth, and football quarterbacks, etc, then it is important to pay attention to the details of your story and create unique characters, unusual settings, screwy attitudes, a strong identifiable voice, anything that lifts the cliched plot above the mundane.” -- Gay Degani in String-of-10 Contest Observations.
I critiqued a few stories today and rejected a submission to Apollo's Lyre. One thing I found in all of them were cliched characters. It does take away from a potentially good story when the characters are uninteresting. I want to read about characters that are different from the norm, even when they are in typical situations. The wife of the overbearing husband who simply goes along with his attitude, the girlfriend who gets pregnant and then the father leaves her and the child to fend for themselves, and the husband who doesn’t understand his wife and never will, don’t make for interesting characters. In fact, I find myself losing interest in a story whose characters don’t jump off the page and show me who they really are. I suppose this can be said about some of my characters. Hmm... Now I’m going to have to go look.

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