Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Professor's “How To” Writing Improvement Series Part 6

Character Development - Learn “how to” develop your own Characters
What Is Character Development?

"Character Development" is the process where a writer creates various personalities that are used to entertain, educate and or illuminate the pplot of the piece that the author is presenting. These characters are the players who the writer uses to convey to the audience what the story is all about. The following are the recognized definitions of the words  "Character & Development" for proper referencing.

The online “Oxford Dictionary” defines the terms “Character” & “Development” in this manner and I quote them here

 the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual:running away was not in keeping with her character
the distinctive nature of something:gas lamps give the area its character
[mass noun] the quality of being individual in an interesting or unusual way:the island is full of character
[mass noun] strength and originality in a person’s nature:she had character as well as beauty
a person’s good reputation:to what do I owe this attack on my character?
dated a written statement of someone’s good qualities; a testimonial:you are dismissed without a character
2 a person in a novel, play, or film:the author’s compassionate identification with his characters
a part played by an actor:the actor’s TV character is often on the wrong side of the law
[with adjective] a person seen in terms of a particular aspect of character:he was a larger-than-life character shady characters
informal an unusual or amusing person:she’s a right character with a will of her own
3 a printed or written letter or symbol.
Computing a symbol representing a letter or number.
4 chiefly Biology a characteristic, especially one that assists in the identification of a species.
[with objectarchaic
inscribe or write (something).
describe:you have well characterized him

Here is the Link as verification

Development: noun
[mass noun]
1 the process of developing or being developed:she traces the development of the novel the paintings provide evidence of his artistic development
a specified state of growth or advancement:the wings attain their full development several hours after birth
[count noun] a new and advanced product or idea:the latest developments in information technology
2 [count noun] an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation:I don’t think there have been any new developments since yesterday
3 the process of converting land to a new purpose by constructing buildings or making use of its resources:land suitable for development
[count noun] an area of land with new buildings on it:a major housing development in Essex
4 the process of starting to be affected by an ailment or feeling:the development of brittle bones
5 the process of treating photographic film with chemicals to make a visible image:agitation is carried out while a film is processed to ensure even development
6 Chess the process of bringing one’s pieces into play in the opening phase of a game:I sought to take advantage of Black’s defective development

Here is the Link as verification

The Online Encyclopedia known to all as “Wikipedia” gives us the following interpretation on Character Development as found here in brief And I have included the link below for all who would like to see the entire entry for themselves.

well-developed character is one that has been thoroughly characterized, with many traits shown in the narrative. A well-developed character acts according to past instances provided by its visible traits unless more information about the character is provided. The better the audience knows the character, the better the character development.
However, characters whose behaviour is completely predictable can seem underdeveloped - flat, shallow or stereotypical; a greater sense of realism occurs if the characterization makes the characters seem well-rounded and complex. As an example, according to F.R. LeavisLeo Tolstoy was the creator of some of the most complex and psychologically believable characters in fiction.[citation needed]
Character development is also very important in character-driven literature, where stories focus not on events, but on individual personalities. Classic examples include War and Peace or David Copperfield. In a tragedy, the central character generally remains fixed with whatever character flaw (hamartia) seals his fate; in a comedy the central characters typically undergo some kind of epiphany (sudden realization) whereupon they adjust their prior beliefs and practices and avert a tragic fate. Historically, stories and plays focusing on characters became common as part of the 19th-century Romantic movement, and character-driven literature rapidly supplanted more plot-driven literature that typically utilizes easily identifiable archetypes rather than proper character development.
[edit]In drama
In performance an actor has less time to characterize and so can risk the character coming across as underdeveloped. The great realists of dramaturgy have relied heavily on implicit characterization which occupy the main body of their character driven plays. Examples of these playwrights are Henrik IbsenAugust Strindberg and Anton Chekhov. Such psychological epics as The Seagull indirectly characterize the protagonists so that the audience is drawn into their inner turmoils as they are slowly revealed over the three hours of time spent with the characters. The actors taking on these roles must also characterize over a long period of time, to the point that there seems to be no direct statement of who the character is at any point, this realism in acting requires the actor to characterize from their own persona as a starting point. The audience therefore does not recognize a realistic characterization immediately.
However the playwright and actor also have the choice of indirect characterization in a similar vein to the writer in literature. The presentation of a character for a sociological discussion only has to be as real as the discussion requires. In this way a character can be used as an iconic reference by a playwright to suggest location, an epoch in history, or even draw in a political debate. The inclusion of a stock character, or in literary terms an archetypal character, by a playwright can risk drawing overly simplistic pictures of people and smack of stereotyping. However, the degree of success in direct characterization in order to swiftly get to the action varies from play to play, and often according to the use the character is put to. In explicitly characterizing a certain character the actor makes a similar gamble. The choice of what aspects of a character are demonstrated by the actor to directly characterize is a political choice and makes a statement as to the ethics and agenda of the actor.
The rest of their entry can be found with these links

My own view is that the author needs to research thoroughly those traits that they feel will be
the keys to catching the attention of their readers right from the start. Character development needs to be accurate, readily identifiable and well defined for each player to give the plot the
proper direction that the author has endowed each with.

While some may need to be purposefully misdirecting as in suspense, horror and or mysteries
pieces, generally the character is used to present the nature that both the writer and their reader can identify with so as to be on the same page. Too much plot manipulation has been the ruin of an otherwise potentially great work.

Your Characters are the personalities that populate the scenes that you create and are the ones that tell the story from their perspective. The development of each character is assigned the importance that is presented and proposed as each character is fleshed out for their own appearance before your audience. They are your protagonists, antagonists and the cast of actors that will do their part to enrich the readers time as the plot winds through from start to finish.

Characters need to be as believable as they can be depending on the style of story that you are creating. Humorous tales need characters that are funny, bright and cheerful. The way the audience finds your presentation depends on the first impression they get from these story tellers. Each character is your chance to touch your reader and connect with them through the
part that you've assign to the central actors.

All parts are important, as together these scenes can be used to add dramatic effects, build excitement, leave clues and defuse the suspense with comedic exchanges. All of these can be used by the writer to entertain the readers. If the tale is written well, the cast of bit players who get may have bit parts may later get to shine in their segments in a sequel.

So there you have it friends! Character Development covered in the way that I have found is best associated with these principles. Thanks for reading and as always your comments are welcome in the comment section below! Be sure to return for the next part in this series. Until next time then I shall remain, your host Mike Aka the Professor.

Copyright December 7th 2011
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