Mincemeat: on writing
  "A good novel tells us the truth about its hero, but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."
G. K. Chesterton

Giving Life to Characters

Thereís lots of advice about how to make your characters more real, most of it really good. Interview your character, write up a personal history, etc. Here are a couple of things that I came up with for my characters.

Give your character an animal type
This is something that Shakespeare often did. I know actors who look for clues in the writing, any mention of an animal associated with a character, and then use that animal to build on. For example, one actress saw Bianca in Taming of the Shrew compared to a fawn or a deer and used that in her interpretation.

This is a subtle trick. You donít want to take it too far. Most likely you wonít have noticed which animals I used to help me flesh out my characters. Here are a few:
Ani—bird
Selia—mountain cat
Miri—hawk
Marda—rabbit
Britta—hare
Dan—wolf

Use a personality rating
This has worked well for me because I know one of these systems by heart, so I donít have to continually return to a book or internet site trying to rate a character. I use the one that scores personalities with the colors blue, green, orange, and gold. First color named is the strongest one, the second describes the supporting traits. If you know this system, you might be interested to see the character ratings. (Iím a mix of blue, green, and orange myself).
Ani—blue, gold, green
Enna—orange, blue
Selia—orange, green
Talone—gold, green
Finn—blue, green (same as my husband. InterestingÖ)
Geric—he was hard to rate, being a pretty even mix of all: with Ani heís blue first, as prince/king heís gold first, but he also has nice bits of orange and green
Sileph—orange, gold
Razo—green, orange



Return to On Writing