Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Effervescent personalities

An Inside Sport magazine article has broached on the topic of personality on the tennis court, saying there was a complete lack of effervescent personalities.
Do your characters have effervescent personalities? It is an interesting question. If they don't, then what kind of appeal do they have?
A personality profile is one of the first things I fill in around the skeleton of my new characters. Not everyone can be that "effervescent" person but it is important to give your story real personalities. I recently read a sentence during a critique that seemed totally out of character for this particular character in the story. By compiling the personality profile, the writer is able to regularly check to make sure real personalities are being portrayed.
Of course, the alpha male, in my opinion is totally unreal but that's another topic.
How do you make your characters appear real or true to their personalities? Do you do a profile or just model them after 'real people' you know?


Chicki said...

Doing character profiles is the first thing I do. Before I start writing I always have ideas of who my characters are, but the profile helps me fill in the details.

As far as the Alpha male, I have to strongly disagree with you because when I was single they were the men I dated. They were bold, brash, good looking, sexy and TROUBLE. I guess that's why I married a Beta...

Eric said...

Annie (Hi) --- Effervescent, I needed a dictionary to keep up.

I’m not at all sure an effervescent personality on the tennis court is important. I can see where effervescence might help a tennis player with endorsements or at the press conference. On the court surely performance is measured in wins.

I guess I think the same for a heroine. I like to know my heroine (and hero) but I don’t want to actually see them; ie base them on someone or some image. They have gestures and idiosyncratic behaviours upon which a visual image may be formed.

My take is that a writer’s character image should be full of rich characterisations to build upon. But it’s the reader’s job to join up the dots and form the image. This way the reader can relate to the personality and form of a homegrown heroine with which they can best relate to visually. That idea doesn’t apply to the environment the character is placed in; a visual image works very well for that. ---- So while writing I build up images of places, locations and objects but not people. For people I keep a list of behaviours, all words, to help keep me on track.

Alfa males are all the same! Wash your mouth out Ms Annie. I think I know where you’re coming from but… You remind me of something.

Sometime ago I was entertaining a lady who reads much of what I write and on this occasion she brought her family. The daughter is at University and was quite interested in talking about writing. On the top of her list was my ‘female’ voice.

Basically I explained what I’d said (and you said) above. That being female offers more scope for visual and intellectual description and insight, and that that suited my writing. She didn’t agree suggesting gender division on that level wasn’t valid.

Eventually I suggested she might like to prove her theory by practicing writing from a male perspective, using as an example; rather than write what you were thinking, feeling and seeing while being amorous with your boy friend, write what he was thinking, feeling and seeing. And do it such that when you read it back it’s convincing. See if there is a difference from what you would write.

She wasn’t comfortable doing that, which was my point.

We all moved on but the next day I received an email from the girl. She wrote, “I walked into the garden, apparently it’s beautiful.”

I assume she was explaining she had caught on. Alfa males are predicatable but surely they're not the same. ----- Eric

Rachael Blair said...

Hi Annie

Hope you do join me to read Jane Eyre but...

Characters... I hope that mine are efferevescent (hope I spelt that right) as I love those types of characters. I've never written profiles before (well not really) but I'm gonna try Nicola Marsh's technique of interviewing characters before starting to write!

We'll see how it goes...

Annie Doyle said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I did post a reply earlier but its magically disappeared!!
I do think I need to do more research on some Alpha Males - real ones before I will comment further. I must admit I don't know any!!! Maybe I attract sensitive new age guys like my sweet hubby?
Oh and Eric I would never say all of them are the same. Unreal maybe because I don't know any, but never the same.

Sandie Hudson said...

Hi Annie
Thought I'd pay you a visit before I hit the sack, seeing as it's 12.45am and I have to be up at 5.30am. Hell!!!!
Character charts or profiles are the only bit of planning I do. I have a picture in my mind (well when it's working that is) as to what they look like, what their personalities are and so on. After that I just go with it, they come and do the rest.
You know it's a bit like that movie Feild of Dreams with me. Write the profile and they will come.
Annie I LOVE YOU!!! I have just had a light bulb moment. You have helped me once again to come out of the dark. I'm right now. I can do this, get back in the saddle so to speak.
WOOHOO, Borders in the morning and writing in the afternoon. Annie Doyle you are my angel.