Characterization Part X of Y

I’m currently reading Ackerman and Puglisi’s Negative Trait Thesaurus.  There is a wealth of data in there on the negative traits, and the book starts with a long wordy explanation of how those traits come about and how they fit with the positive traits.

I found me in there.

Yes, the Pontius Cominius Achilles heel. I found my major positive trait, and I found my negative downfall. Reading my negative trait, I was squirming and saying, “Yep, they got me.”

The big takeaway here is that I can see where you put combos together and get a tricky human. A nice, not-cardboard person who has drives, desires, wants, loves, hatreds, flaws, virtues, and is so inherently messy that the reader resonates by either squirming and saying, “that’s me,” or they identify with the positive characteristic and say “that’s ME!”  By messy, I mean that I can see where each one is being driven by their circumstances, their history, their natural inclinations.

I’m jumping between the characterization books and the Write Great Fiction by Bell. I like Bell because  he says you can learn to write and he can give you the basics. I read somewhere this weekend, wish I could remember where, that this whole endeavor was 5% talent and 95% determination.  How much grit do you have? I thus need to set some goals, and with my negative trait in mind–it really is my conflict– hold to a schedule and push hard.

This novel will be written. It will be fantastic. It will be richly characterized. It will have good structure, pacing, plot, and it will lead to a second, because you can’t market your writing with just one novel or readers have nothing to go buy after reading my first brilliant opus.  I will do complete characterization for my protagonist and three additional support characters by the end of this week.  I will finish reading Write by the end of this week.


Go ahead, comment. It won’t kill you.  And, um, it’s not because I’m desperate. Because I’m not. I’m NOT! Just comment. If you comment, I’ll be your best friend!  C’mon. I’ll give you a cookie! Yeah, I love the “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” books, too.

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11 thoughts on “Characterization Part X of Y

  1. Thank you for reading my reblog from Frank and Jeff (unstable). He writes with clarity and brilliance. Like you. I don’t need a cookie but yes I like the pigeon and mouse books too

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    • Spell checkers are often a delight. And not so much. I do Roman re-enactment, and the discussions for that give my phone conniptions. It does not like Latin. It does not like military Latin. The resulting mishmash is not even funny, it’s just wrong. So sad.

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  2. Hi there and thanks for following my blog. I hope it’s true that success in just about anything is 95% determination. That I know I have. Do I understand you are writing a book? Good luck and God bless.

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  3. Hi Rebecca, and likewise, thank you!
    The determination thing? Yeah. You gotta want it more than than anyone else.
    And yes to the book. I’m a rather spastic writer, but I suspect many others are, too.

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  4. I like what you shared about honing your craft, sitting your butt in the chair and writing to finish your first novel and then doing it all over again for the next. And next. It’s so important to know how to make your characters real. It’s in the details. Oh, and thanks for following, too. C’mon back sometime and comment!

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  5. Thanks, DK. Aw, you invited me to comment. Heh, it’s like inviting a vampire into your house.
    No, no, not in a stalker sort of way. But I like commenting. It’s sort of like writer crack. Keeps me away from the books, it does.

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  6. Thanks for the follow 🙂
    I love cookies… and I’m currently engrossed in “The negative Trait Thesaurus” and relishing in all the same self-deprecating fun that you are – lol!

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