Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brilliant Character Development

I recently read two novels by John Green: An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska.

Here's one thing I learned about Green: when it comes to character development, he's brilliant. I mean seriously, he described several characters between the two books and I wasn't even a little bit confused. Each character had quirky habits, unique traits, and endearing vulnerabilities. Green's descriptions were not released in a flood of information. They were drip, drip, dripped as each story unfolded.

In my quest to improve character development, I've stumbled upon these helpful posts:
And if, like me, you're feeling a little un-John Greenish (new word), check out this post and read "How do you deal with writer's block?" It'll make your rough draft seem less horrible. I promise.

Have you read any of John Green's books? And what's your favorite tip for developing characters? Please share!

photo credits: Barnes and Noble

30 comments:

  1. I've hear of John's books but I haven't had time to pick one up yet. It sounds like I'd better make the time! Thank you!

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  2. Thank you so much for these links. This is one area I always strive to improve and I feel more than a bit silly that I haven't read either of these books. I'll get on that, stat.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  3. Thanks for those links! I've not read any of his books. I think knowing my character's deepest fear is what helps me know them better and have them interact with others more realistically.

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  4. Characters really do make the book. I've heard a lot about these books, and now I'm even more curious about them. Thanks for the recommendation, and for the linkage! :)

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  5. Awesome links. I'm going to have to check them out. :)

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  6. Love, love, love his books. I have a ton on the shelves here and he knows just what to weave into a story to make the characters pop.

    An Abundance of Katherines is my favorite.

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  7. I just love John Green. His sense of humor is fantastic, and he makes even unlikable characters sympathetic. I also love his minor characters - they're just as interesting as his major ones (sometimes more!)

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  8. Thanks for the links. I've bookmarked the post so I can come back to it whenever I work on characters. I can't wait to read John Green's books. They've been on my wishlist for a while.

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  9. too cool. I've got Looking for Alaska on my TBR list, so I'll def be checkin this out~ :o)

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  10. Thanks for the links! I'll have to check them out. I LOVED LOOKING FOR ALASKA. You're right, he's a master at character development.

    I'm a plot chick but I'm learning the value of character development though.

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  11. haven't heard of him before, but I do love characters developed in a very very detailed and psychological way.

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  12. I've heard good things about 'Looking for Alaska'. I'll have to put it on the to buy list.

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  13. I actually haven't read anything by John Green before (definitely must change that!), but those posts are really wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing them with us! :)

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  14. Two new books to add to my must read list. Wearing both my writer and teacher hats, I thank you for the links.

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  15. he is a genius at creating characters that are nuanced. I also adore how Melina Marchetta does her characters. Each time I re-read her work, I get more insight to the characters - so many layers.

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  16. I have never read any of his work! These are incredible. Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  17. I"ve never heard of John Green but his book is now one I want to get. For me...writing fiction is pretty new. Developing my charachers still needs work. Thanks Julie for the heads up on this book and those posts. I love the craft of writing and your posts are wonderful. Hey and happy nano writing today.

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  18. I've had these books on my wishlist because I've heard good things about them. They sound terrific. Thanks for the links too. :)

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  19. I've never delved into character development this deeply. I've got some learning to do. Thank you for the suggestions. :)

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  20. I've heard of An Abundance of Katherines but have not read it yet. I don't know if it's really character development, but after a publisher requested my previous ms, several of their editors gave valuable feedback, and one of the things they said was that all physical description should be given up front, the first time a character is mentioned. I looked in some of the books I have around home and found that is the case. So I always made sure to do that now.

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  21. Character development is so super important! He's a master!!

    Thanks for the link.

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  22. Def feeling Un-John Greenish so I'm going to check out your collection of awesome links! :)

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  23. Thanks so much for the links, Julie. I haven't read his books yet, but your post made me want to, so I plan to do just that.

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  24. Great links! some of them I've read. I try and improve in all areas. And though John Green is a great writer, I've only read one of his books - Paper Towns. And suffice it to say, haven't had the urge to read any others. Just not the kind of books I love. Nothing against the writing or the stories. Personal taste.

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  25. Thanks for the links, Julie. Will check them out. I have heard a lot about Looking for Alaska. I try to give each of my characters a unique and distinct personality. Maybe a quirk or a trait that will be remembered by the readers.

    Thanks for the tweet about my humor post. Have a lovely weekend!

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  26. He's definitely on my TBR list--I'll have to move him up, I'd love some books with amazing character development to study right now. I've bookmarked too, so I can come back when I'm in post-NaNo revisions and work on what I know right now is not-quite-there-yet character development in my WIP.

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  27. My favorite trick for developing characters is to live in their skin. I become my characters. It's weird, I go around the house acting out my characters and by the time I'm through with my first draft, they are as real as me. LOL. That's what I hope anyway. I love my characters, all of them, even the bad ones. I just hate finishing a book and leaving them behind.

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  28. Great links for character development! It takes me a few tries to hit the important points. I've done the 3-2-5 thing, but never called it that before!

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  29. Thanks for the awesome links! I've read both of Green's books. Only problem I have with the guy is I feel he uses too much profanity for YA books. But you're right, he has excellent character development. :)

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