Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Credible Incredible

Dear Dead Beat,

what is the most important quality of characterisation in fiction? I struggle to create believable characters.


Dear Concerned,

You have put your finger on it - credibility - characters must be credible. However, only in the context of the story. Characters on paper are never 'real', cannot be. They are heightened versions of real people. They have to live out their lives quickly in the story. Thus we heighten, intensify them. In the same way dialogue is not 'real' in stories. No one, thank God, really talks like characters in books. So they are credible in an incredible sort of way.

This 'heightened nature' is very important and hard to achieve.

Consistency may be part of the answer. If the character is consistent in their behaviour and so on, they are more likely to be accepted as 'real'. Once again, watch out. This consistency awaits the moment of inconsistency. The great moment of the story occurs when the character acts in a way unexpected.

Think on this and come back to me with further thoughts,

Dead Beat

Please ask any questions through the comment section.
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