StanleyYelnats. Dreadful Spiller. The Artful Dodger. Lemony Snicket. Ebenezer Scrooge. Arwen Undomiel. Atreyu. Ender Wiggin. Their names are sealed in our hearts forever. So how do we find names for our own characters that have the same staying power?
Baby Name Books
Continuing the series on Show, Don’t Tell.
I have this awful habit of writing little narrative “character sketches” devoid of dialogue or action; simply summarizing the personalities of my heroes. I was all set to write a post about how to avoid this—with the “actions speak louder than words” approach I touched on in this post—but Wednesday morning, Mark Twain changed my mind.
Characters are the soul of a story, and the more clearly you can paint those characters, the more believable they (and your story) will be. So how do you do that?
1. How they talk
Kramer bursting through Jerry’s door. Garfield kicking Odie off the table. Michael Scott turning an innocent statement into an innuendo by adding “that’s what she said!”
What do all these things have in common?
They are all arsidities!
What the heck is an arsidity?
There’s a scene in the Great Muppet Caper, in which Lady Holiday explains to Miss Piggy the backstory for the entire movie.
Miss Piggy: Why are you telling me all this?
Lady Holiday: It’s plot exposition. It has to go somewhere.