Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Another way of looking at the exercise Donald Maass includes in his book Writing the Breakout Novel -- that focuses on helping you enlarge the qualities of your protagonists/characters -- is to think how you can make your character unforgettable. Who hasn't heard of Hannibal Lector, Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, or Leopold Bloom? By adding tidbits of humour, action, internalization, by heightening what s/he says, does, and thinks, you give the reader a character that will stay with them, in a story where every moment counts. Take a violent situation and tone down your protagonist's response. Take a dark scene and add humour or emotion. Add a line of dialogue that is totally unexpected. Make the changes to your manuscript. Give your reader a character they'll never forget.

--Happy Writing


  1. Joylene,

    I'm passing on the Sunshine Award to you. You may pick it up at my tarot blog, Tarot Guidance.

  2. I like throwing the off-beat dialogue in there. Most of my readers think my protag's sidekick steals the show - because he's funny. It's fine with me. I gotta email you somethin' when I get back from Orlando.

  3. Thank you, Cher. What a nice surprise. I'll pick it up as soon as I can. Thank you for your continual support.

    Dave, I'm not surprised. And please do email the next chapter. Safe journey.

  4. Thanks for doing this, Joylene. It's stuff I already know, but need to hear again and again. No wonder only a selected few write novels. What a huge job it is trying to get the story down and making it stand out at the same time. This is the kind of work that few people could stick with. I'm laughing because when I began I thought I'd had a full novel done in no time, then I'd find a publisher. Yep, I know how hilarious that sounds now.

  5. It is a writer's hope to create unforgettable characters and something that we need to be reminded of as well. Thanks for the reminder, Joylene.

  6. Thanks Kirk and Laura. Glad this stuff helps. Sure makes my writing more interesting.


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