Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Crafting Characters that Connect- Part 1

To prepare for my Central Piedmont Community College class on "Crafting Characters that Connect" I am reading several excellent essays in the anthology Creating Fiction (Associated Writing Programs, 1999). I thought I'd share some tidbits with you over the scope of several blogs.

First up are some quotes from "Icebergs, Glaciers, and Arctic Dreams: Developing Characters" by Kim Edwards on using your life experiences and emotions.

"For a character to be convincing, what's on the page must somehow evoke knowledge that extends beyond what's strictly visible." (p. 45)

"When [Raymond] Carver ....says that 'everything we write is, in some way, autobiographical,' he doesn't mean that authors stay close to true events when they write--indeed, to do so can actually rob a character of the freedom to react in a natural and individual way--but rather that there's a clear relationship between the events of the world and the events of a story. Art doesn't imitate life but grows directly from it."

"Even when an author has not experienced what her character is experiencing, she can find parallel events and emotions in her own life on which to draw." (p. 47)

"Writers leap from the particular experiences of their own lives to the universal emotions and states of mind those experiences reflect. From there they can particularize the experience once again, into the life of the imagined character." (p. 48)

Creating Fiction ends each instructive chapter with writing exercises. Looks like I'll be adding this book to my bookshelf of writing resources.  


Jean said...

Sounds good. Have you used /Creating Characters Kids Will Love/ by Elaine Marie Alphin?

Some terrific suggestions and exercises.


CL said...

Great quotes- they really resonate with me. And the same thing is true with drawing/painting, I've found- your 'voice' comes through no matter the subject.

Carol Baldwin said...

Jean, I haven't read that book and just added it to my reading list on my wiki. Constance-- you've given me food for thought!

Anonymous said...

Dear Carol,
Many of my stories come from personal experiences. Those that don't, I imagine the emotions that would feel, that I have felt, and put them in there. These quotes sound true to me. Thanks for sharing.
Do something good to celebrate you and your writing today!
Joan Y. Edwards

Carol Baldwin said...

Writing from our life experiences can be so powerful, Joan. Thanks for stopping by.

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