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Fundamentals of Fiction - Characterization

Fundamentals of Fiction - Characterization

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Published by Mandy Manning
Lesson Plan by Delphine Boswell
Lesson Plan by Delphine Boswell

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Published by: Mandy Manning on Dec 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/28/2013

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FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING FICTION
1
Lesson # 1 – Characterization
MATERIALS NEEDED FOR THIS LESSON
 
Purchase a journal. Make sure it is one you feel comfortablewriting in. For example, will you want a lined-page one? Will youwant a spiral-bound one? Will you want a soft-covered one? Buyone that “feels” like you! Use it to:
Write down your thoughts as they occur throughout your lessons
Write down questions as they come to mind
Record or draw images pertinent to the topic at hand
Jump start ideas as they present themselves
Answer homework questions or “thought-starter” questions
Purchase six file folders. Look for the fun, colorful ones insteadof the boring manila ones. Also, gather some old magazines.
Purchase a deck of regular playing cards and some rubbercement.
L EARNING OBJECTIVES
In lesson #1 you will learn how to:
Understand how archetypes can help in creating characters
People Watch
Mind map the “selves” of a character
Prepare personal file folders on characters
Research jobs for your characters
Develop characters by various means
Developing characters is one of the most exciting andenjoyable parts of being a writer. What could be morefulfilling than learning how to create people from scratch!
 
FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING FICTION
2
Identify main, secondary, and minor characters
Create characters for special missions
Show not tell
Put together a “mix-and-match” people file
TUTORIAL - A
Carl Jung studied the unconscious mind and found that in dreamimages and in various life situations, all people have certain commonthreads that unite us one to the other. Jung coined the term “archetype” to mean a person’s recurring way of being human.Archetypes exhibit common characteristics no matter what time framethey are found in, no matter what environment they are found in, andno matter what culture they might find themselves in. So, forexample, the archetype of a hero would be someone who leaves whathe or she knows to embark on an adventure in order to save the daywhether the hero lives in 1802 or 2010; whether the hero lives inSavannah, Georgia or Rome, Italy; or whether the hero is an Asian ora Native American.Let’s look at the most common archetypes:
r
manager
mentor
caregiver
orphan
wwwinnocentNow, let’s think of some universal, common to all, traits that wouldapply to each of these; for example, the hero is tough andcourageous; the hero can set goals and achieve them; the hero canovercome obstacles; the hero is persistent even when things getdifficult; the hero leaves family and the familiar to strike out in newterritories; the hero can bring honor to his community. Of course, wecould go on with many more characteristics.
Lover
Destroyer
Seeker
Prostitute
Victim
Saboteur
Thief 
Addict
Ruler
Magician
Jester
Underdog
 
Hero
Mother
Wise Old Man
Trickster
Mentor
Innocent
Double
Sacrificial Redeemer
Administrator
Facilitator
Manager
Caregiver
 
FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING FICTION
3
Who are some heroes you know in your own life? In public life? Inmovies?Let’s try another one! What are some universal traits that would applyto the underdog? The underdog is someone who is weak, notpowerful; the underdog is oppressed; the underdog plays victim; theunderdog is used to being picked-on; the underdog is vulnerable; theunderdog is the object of bullying.
In your journal, go through the list above and write down all of the traits that you believe are common to each of thearchetypes.
In your journal, write down which archetypes you have comeacross in your own life: personally, publicly, or as characters infilm.
Tutorial – B
Where can you begin to find “real” people who might make greatfictional characters?First, where would be some good places to “people watch”? Certainly,busy places are the best: a local coffee shop, an airport; the foodcourt at the mall, or at a store.Think of any others? (Hint: Jot down additional ideas in your journal.)What do you do when you people watch? Here’s your chance to act asprivate detective as all writers must be curious. Some things youmight want to record are: the physical appearance of the person; thesound of their voice; the mannerisms that they use; the bodylanguage that you see.Think of any others?Read your daily paper. How many people in the paper would makegreat characters; for example, those who write into advice columns;those who write letters to the editor; those who commit the heinouscrimes.
Choose at least one place this week, where you can take your journal and go out “people watching.” 

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