Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Lesson 31: Character Delineation

Well good Tuesday, we're almost done with this series. I'm looking for other books that will help us in our writing.

Today we continue with Donald Maass' Writing a Breakout Novel. This is a fabulous book and I encourage each of you to buy it. What I'm presenting here is by no means a full lesson and there is a wealth of insight and additional info that will help you.

In case your just joining us...What I am attempting to do here is present truncated versions of each of the lessons in the workbook. We're done with Character Development, now we're moving on to Plot Development! Today's lesson is in Section THREE: Character Delineation.

Having sharpened the POV's you have chosen for your novel, it is now time to take the next step and make sure that your characters sound, act, and think differently from each other. That's the business of character delineation.

How are your characters different from one another? In your mind, I'm sure they are quite different, but how is that specifically conveyed to your readers? Use a chart to create separate vocabularies, traits, actions, and more for your characters. You will be surprised how much more individual they become.

Step 1: Create a chart in a spread sheet program like Excel. Write down the first column: sofa, bureau, dress, pants, shoes, auto, soda, coffee, alcohol, cash, "Hello", "Cool", "Oh well", God, mother, father, partner/spouse, man, woman, attractive, unattractive, music, periodical. Now in the next three columns to the right place a POV character at the top. Down each column fill in the character's word for the one you've listed.

Note: You can make the list as long as you want. The point is to find each characters voice.

Follow-up: for each POV character give them unique traits, gestures, rationalizations, peeves, hot buttons etc.

Conclusion: Have you ever read a novel where all the characters sounded the same? That's weak POV writing. Strong POV is more than just the words, even cadence and sentence structure will be different. Make your characters different just as people are different!

1. If you are choking on an ice cube, don't panic. Simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat and presto. The blockage will be almost instantly removed.

2. Clumsy? Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

3. Avoid arguments with the little woman about lifting the toilet seat by simply using the sink.

4. For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.

5. A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives, then you will be afraid to cough.

7. Have a bad toothache? Smash your thumb with a hammer and you will forget about the toothache.


  1. Bernita said...
    The sink?
    Do not show this list to any male in the house...
    Gordon said...
    Bonnie, I have been benefitting from this series. As an aspiring writer, I want to learn all I can. Thanks for posting these.

    The list was hilarious.
    Ballpoint Wren said...
    LOL on #6!
    Anonymous said...

    I loved your home remedy list! Scary, but funny.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. (I had trouble getting on yours the last couple of days, but tonight it worked fine. Who knows what REALLY goes on in cyberspace!)
    M. C. Pearson said...
    You constantly have me shaking my head and snickering...bad Bonnie!

Post a Comment