Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tales of an Unpublished Writer: Characterization and the Kitchen Sink

I continue my series on bizarro writing with a post on characterization. This post has appeared on the Seven Sassy Sisters site but it bears repeating.


Okay, so I’m not really talking about the kitchen sink but I am going to talk about an appliance.
Knowing the characters we create is key to a well-plotted and emotional story. I have a character sheet generated from different classes I took to help me create my hero and heroine. But, to be honest, most of the information didn’t appeal to the “I like things quirky” in me.
So while I know my alpha male cringes at the music of Brittany Spears, I need something more.
So, I sit my character in a chair beside me and I ask him: “How do you load your dishwasher?”
Of course, my alpha male will immediately ask “Is this a euphemism for something more . . . enticing?”
Inches (yes, inches) from saying ‘yes’, I step back and remember the purpose of this lesson. “No, I want to know truly how you’d load your dishwasher.”
“I prefer on top first, then see what I can fit in the bottom.”
Okay, it might not always work out that way. But, asking your character about something from everyday life might give you some true insight into him or her.
Let’s look at other examples. I am an introvert who mostly tries to follow the rules. So, if I’m taught to load a dishwasher with dishes on top and glasses/finery on the bottom, then that’s how I do it. And I don’t usually divert from that routine.
The crusader archetype will want to get it all done in one swoop, so she’ll try to fit every piece wherever he/she can.
The professor may sit and read the manual, then compare the dimensions with those of each individual dish. He’s detail oriented.
Do you see how it works? And, if you think about it, I’m sure many people load their dishwasher in their own way.
Any thoughts? How do you load your dishwasher? 
Abbi :-)

Abbi Wilder is in the writing/editing mode . . . somewhere in the US. 

1 comment:

  1. I don't. I don't have one. And if I did I wouldn't use it because washing dishes is relaxing for me. I guess it's the sense of accomplishment I get once I'm done.