Case Study June Makes Everything All Right

June is a cheerful person in her mid-twenties. The mother of two small children, she has an optimistic outlook on life and this is reflected in her characterisation. Unfortunately, this tendency always to look on the bright side means that her characters often lack depth and realism. She also finds it difficult to bring conflict into her stories, as she likes to make their lives run as smoothly as possible. Until she can overcome her desire to have everyone living happily ever after, her stories will continue to be dull and lifeless.

HOW WOULDYOU REACT IF THEY APPROACHED YOU?

Without realistic characters, a fictional story is flat and lifeless. People read about people, so the characters you create should not only be realistic, they should also provoke a reaction from your reader.

Running away

Every character in a work of fiction should be there for a purpose. Characters should never be used in order to set the scene or create a backcloth.

If you've placed them in a scene, they have to perform a function and with this in mind, you should either be attracted or repelled by them. If they only have a small role to play, you may simply find them interesting or intriguing but you should never be indifferent.

When creating fictional characters, therefore, imagine how you personally would react if you met them on a dark night. Would you:

♦ Stop to offer assistance?

♦ Be filled with loathing?

♦ Avoid making eye contact?

♦ Nod a brief greeting and move swiftly on?

One method of conveying exactly what sort of reaction your character would provoke is through interaction with another character.

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