Dr. Hinze's premise in her essay is this: If you know your characters well
enough--better than yourself, even-- then the plot of your book will enfold as you reveal each character's details. This happens because these characters have certain personality traits; certain profiles; that cause them to interact with the world as only they could.
But how much detail is needed to make your fictional characters
come alive? How much detail is truly enough to truly influence the plot of your book? Dr. Hinze uses the analogy that a novel is like a three-legged stool, where character, plot and setting represent the three legs. Under-developed characters cause the stool to wobble. Characters should be so believable that if you change one thing about them, their destiny and hence the course of the novel changes. That seems like a tall order, doesn't it? Dr. Hinze doesn't believe it should be.
Dr. Hinze explains that readers expect your characters to
experience the conflicts of life, which can never be easy. They have to "grow and change" as they experience these conflicts. Therefore, you must describe and evolve their spiritual and emotional sides along with their physical attributes.
As Dr. Hinze puts it: "Everything about them--including their
speech patterns, the way they dress, their body language--tells the reader who these story people are and proves they are both universal and unique. To be unforgettable, a story person must be both."
The rest of her essay explains in fascinating detail her definitions of both universal and unique character traits and how to create them. She even uses a great self-example. She was once a meek blonde. She became a fiery red head to gain the self-confidence needed to end a bad marriage
and stand up to her family. If you don't have time to read the essay, we'll be exploring more of it here in the next post.
About This Blog:
The Found in the Jewelry Box Blog is my attempt to teach others about the wonderful world of gems and jewelry, past and present. Please enjoy!