Category Archives: character building

Writing with Purpose

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Over at Lunch Ticket, Bettina Gilois writes a blog called “Writing: The Toolbox.” In her 8th installment, she discusses character, and the necessity for a reader’s¬†emotional investment:

As writers we are the pusher man for the reader, we control supply and demand. We get the reader hooked, and once hooked we tease with a controlled giving and taking, dealing in identification and fantasy, creating want and tension, and doling out relief and reward.

Gilois advises writers to incorporate philosophical statements as part of character building:

Philosophical statements by your characters elevate the material from a pragmatic and dramatic narrative to something that holds greater value and endures through time. While it also serves as characterization, it satisfies the reader with recognition of self in the greater context of what it means to be human.

To me, this is what mediocre writing lacks. As a young adult author, it’s important to provide sustenance in a variety of ways–be it philosophical statements or scenes that place characters in difficult situations in order to prove their mettle (or not, because that can be fun, too). In these ways, a young reader receives more than just entertainment. She is nourished by the story; he learns without an obvious moral.

So, how do you accomplish this task of writing with purpose? How do you use your characters to say something important?

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