Monday, December 28, 2009

Make Characters Distinctive

“. . .while most transient characters deserve no more than a quick mention, we may want to endow some of them with a distinctive trait or two to create and enduring visual impact.” Thomas C. Renzi in “What a ‘Character’.” [The Writer, January 2010]
Since I write short-short stories, I don’t include many minor characters. When I do, I give some thought as to why they’re in the story and whether I can make them real using just a few words. Sometimes I decide they’re not needed. Once a minor character became the main character by the time I was done revising the story.

I received a submission this week that I’m going to reject because there are too many characters for a story of 900 words. I found it difficult to keep them straight. I’ll have to read it again to see if part of the problem is that many of them have no distinctive characteristics to make them stand out in my mind.

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