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17.08.2011 11:33    Comments: 0    Categories: Fiction Elements  Fiction Writing  Writing  Writing Characters  Writing Craft  Writing Tips      Tags: character pro 5  differentiate characters  

How To Differentiate Characters

 

In this tip section we'll focus on creating differentiated characters, making each character unique and consistent. Character Pro 5 helps with this by providing a unique character spine based on your choices and established character types, and by offering tools throughout the writing process to keep the characters consistent.

What else can you do to set your characters apart from each other? Professionals have tricks to keep characters differentiated.

Tip #1:


This is a subtle trick that has more impact than you might think. It's based on the observation that some people say names before a sentence and others after. "Bobby, how's that carburetor coming?" vs. "How's that carburetor coming, Bobby?" Decide on which style your character uses and stick with it. If you have, for instance, two characters that work together and you want to keep them unique, try this trick. After a while, the reader won't have to keep track of the speaker, they'll know instantly by the style.

Also, some people start sentences with "well," or "okay." Others end with "right?" a lot. Try to keep these tags to a minimum, but if you use them, use them consistently and you'll find your characters better defined.

Tip #2:


Ever notice how some people seem to have well-thought-out sentences using an extensive vocabulary, while others just blurt stuff out? Here's an easy way to get that effect into your dialogue. First, write a rough draft of your conversation like usual--be as off-the-top-of-the-head as possible. Make sure all the sub-text is there and the points are coming through. When you get to polishing the dialogue, ignore one character--whatever came out in the rough is how it will be--and polish the other person's dialogue with a thesaurus and grammar check, etc. You can take this polishing to whatever extremes you want, but subtly over-polishing one character while under-polishing another creates a very realistic effect.

Tip #3:


Sometimes a writer will put a recurring motif into a story that gives it cohesiveness. You can also do this, to a certain extent, with a character. Choose different motifs for each character and you'll get a very effective separation. One character may have a food motif, where everything he says or does somehow subtly refers to food, or money, or clothing.

 

Sometimes subtle motifs can contrast two characters on a sub-conscious level. If you build a motif of greed with one character and a motif of giving with another, when they meet, their speech will contrast, and conflict will be more believable. This can be especially effective if the references are subtle, although it also works if they lay it all on the table.

 
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