Recently, I’ve been reading books and writing reviews that focused on strong main characters. They’re all different: different ages, gender and situations entirely. But, they’ve all resonated with me because they’re complicated characters, with authors who weren’t afraid to make them unlikeable.
Which, in turn got me thinking about how they could be different, about the different choices authors could have made in planning to reach these characters and that in turn got me thinking about characterisation and:
The worst advice an author received about characterisation
That was the most recent #LoveOzLit question to the authors that are part of the project, and Tony Park’s response above, points out that as much as planning is everything when it comes to writing, it can be a hindrance as well.
For one, it’s bloody hard – plotting several characters’ everything, basically, even before you start writing and put your characters in the situations your plot demands of them. Second, and I know I’m guilty of this sometimes, it’s hard to let go of a plan and what a character should be as a consequence. If I’ve spent all that time planning, there’s a part of me that’s loathe to let go of the time, effort and care I’ve taken into making that plan for the character.
Broad strokes work the best, giving you an idea of where you want your character to go, but still leaving things flexible if you change your mind.
What is the worst advice you’ve ever had about characterisation?