Sunday, January 25, 2009

Researching Characterization for Contemporary Fiction - Part IIIB

Researching contemporary fictions seems as if it could be an easy task, but I’ve found the more I search for accuracy in my work, the harder research becomes. In part A of this category, I covered a variety of research for setting, story and career details and sites on how to do most everything. This part will focus on creating characters.

Characterization: The Internet is an excellent source of information on appearance, manners, character names, body language, personalities and psychological influences, but magazines and catalogues also provide help along this line.

Physical Appearance: Deciding the appearance of a major character means, defining his physical appearance to validate the individual’s personality. Physical appearance refers to hairstyle (color and cut), facial hair, face shape, eyes shape and color, build, height, and any physical uniqueness. The internet can be a source, but magazines of hairstyles, grooming and fashion can also add to your description. I often use clothing catalogues to
gather photographs of the same model in different poses, hairstyles, moods, and attire, then cut them out and glue them to sheets of paper for my files. I end up with a large resource of different body and facial styles to work with.

Body language: Body movement and physical reaction refers to body language. Our moods and emotions are triggered by our response to outside stimuli. Though I covered this in another blog, remember that we say a lot without using words. You can read more about this on the Internet.

Speech Patterns: People speak differently depending on the region of the US in which they live and also the time frame. Slang and lingo change with the passing of time, so search for the correct fad language and speaking style will help brining your characters to life.

Character Names: Names reflect personality and add to the “flavor” of a character. I’ve written about this already, but use the resources I will send you in my next blog to understand how names influence the character and others attitude toward the character.

Personality and Psychological Influences: In my next entry I will be providing some links to psychological tests and information that you can apply to your characters. These are things I use and have found helpful. Birth order and family dysfunctional falls under this category as well.

Alpha/Beta characters: Alpha and beta character styles have been presented through the years. If you use a search engine to locate information about the difference between the alpha and beta character, it will provide you with good information in creating characters who appeal to the reader.

No comments: