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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Character Development: Yin-Yang Theory

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  The end of my Undergraduate career took a lot of my time and I couldn't get blogging as much as I wanted to.  But, now that I'm back, here's a good writing tip for you gusy.

As I have been submitting my writings for critiques/submissions, I'm coming to a conclusion about characterization.  The current theory which pleases editors is where you have multi-faceted characters.

Now, I'm betting you're asking: Great, now how do I do that?

Well, it's not as hard as you think.  All it takes is a bit of pre-writing.

The Yin-Yang Theory

Fold a piece of paper in half and write Yin on one side and Yang on the other (or Light and Dark, or Good and Evil, or whatever you feel like you need to get the job done).

On the Yin side, write all the good qualities of a character.  Noble, Loyal, Devoted, etc.

On the Yang side, write all the poor qualities of a character.  Lazy, Untrusting, Greedy, etc.

Now, try to write a paragraph on the back side of the paper as to how these qualities work on the character.  If a person is Loyal, but Untrusting, perhaps it's he's untrusting at first to new people, but loyal to few after they've met his standards (which may be unobtainable).  Or if you have someone who's devoted to someone in a marriage, but greedy enough they ignore their needs when they work a lot.  A good way to do this is to write it in the character's voice, as it will help you later on for how the character needs to act in certain areas (beginning, meeting new characters, etc.).

I haven't been doing this long, but I've found it's really helped in creating some multi-faceted characters in the past (I'd say more, but they're pending sales, so you may be reading about them soon enough).

Anyways, keep your pens to the paper and fingers to the keyboard, writers.

One-Liner (formerly First Line Writing Prompt)

It seemed like forever since Stella was able to gaze at the stars shining in the night sky.

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