AISFP 211 – Chicon 7 “Creating Vivid Characters” with Carol Berg, Teresa Frohock, Randy Henderson, Kay Kenyon, and Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Click the image to see the last Chicon 7 panel

Click the image to see the last Chicon 7 panel

Vivid Character Building
How do you create vivid characters who pop off the page? How do you avoid archetypes/stereotypes and predictability? Join a panel of writers discussing their techniques and tricks and ask questions of your own.
Carol Berg, Teresa Frohock, Randy Henderson, Kay Kenyon, Bryan Thomas Schmidt

AISFP will host random BOOK GIVEAWAYS based on your comments here and in other posts this month, so look through some of the great advice I’ve noted below and answer them in comments about your work in progress. I’ll even include those who use the hashtag #AISFP with a link to the website.

Note: AISFP is running  a deal on sponsorships purchased before July 1st, so contact the show if you’re interested.

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11″ – What comes first: plot, character or world?
>What problem are they facing right now?
>What is the worst thing that has ever happened to them?
>What do they love, that puts them in this story?
>”Think of a weakness that directly impinges on the the qualities they will need to solve the stories’ problems.” Kay Kenyon (~16 min mark)
>”Before I write the first scene, I need to know what he’s running from.” Carol Berg (~19 min mark)

~26″ – What are the fundamental questions you ask yourself to develop your characters?
>What do they want?
>35″ – Carol Berg – “What is the inner demon that will hound this character and tend to create obstacles, and allow me as an author to create a story arc?” Also. “How is their desire imperfect?” and “Nobody wants someone who is absolutely certain of what they want.” Ask, “Should __ be done?”

38″ – “How do you avoid stereotypes and archetypes in your characters?”
49″ – “What is that secret they haven’t told their best friend?”
As a culture, “What is the one thing that no one wants to admit?”

——- BREAK HERE to promo Points of View by Tony Thorne MBE ——–

50:15 “How much is the naming of characters a factor?”

Q and A 52min mark – “How do you make the character jump off the page?”

62 “How do you handle a character’s arc?”

Writing the Other by Nisi Shall was also mentioned as a book resource to check out.

First, Thanks to our Moderator:

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Goodreads giveaway for Abraham Lincoln – Dinosaur Hunter: Land of Legends

And, to our Panelists:

Randy Henderson

Ryan's story, "Surviving the eBookalypse" on Escape Pod podcast, episode 328

Randy’s story, “Surviving the eBookalypse” on Escape Pod podcast, episode 328

Teresa Frohock

Carol Berg

Kay Kenyon

Pre-order her upcoming book, A Thousand Perfect Things

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Comments

  1. Michele says:

    Great podcast, and good advice from the writers. I love that question for when you’re developing a culture: “What’s the one thing no one will admit?” I’d never thought of that before, but that’s a perfect question to help you find out what the culture values and fears the most.

    As for creating characters, I like to ask what does the character think she needs, versus what does she really need. And I also ask, what does she want the most, what does she fear the most, and what are her flaws (which can sometimes be strengths in the right circumstances. In my current WIP, my character thinks she needs freedom from her past through escaping it, while she really needs to face it and conquer it. She fears becoming as crazy as her father. Her flaws include her stubbornness, her hot temper, and her attraction to things (and people) that are dangerous.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Michele! That was one of my favorite questions, too. You’ve reminded me to apply it to my story. I spent three weeks brainstorming and have recently started writing, so it’s been hard to pull myself out of that mode to do more character work. You also bring up some great questions to ask. Before I submitted my last novel to the editor, I went through for each scene and answered stuff like that. Hopefully my subconscious is working through these questions as I write. Sounds like you have a well developed character. How far along is this novel?

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