Friday, September 24, 2010

How to Write Compelling Characters

Dude! It's Friday, September 24--which means The Great Blogging Experiment is underway. Today, over 150 people (holy. chocolate. cows. I will try to get to every post) will be talking about Writing Compelling Characters.

It's an experiment, because I believe wholeheartedly that every single post today will be unique. Because we're all unique. I hope I'm not wrong, but I suppose anything is possible. ;-)

So let's get to it. How to write compelling characters.

I only have one bit of advice: Exaggerate their humanness.

1. Humans have flaws.
2. Humans have secrets.
3. Humans have fears.
4. Humans have emotions.
5. Humans do stupid things and pay the price because of them.
6. Humans grow and change.

So to create a compelling character, they need to do/have these things too. Easy peasy, right? Uh...right.

I think that all characters in a novel should be made human. I'm sort of tired of the perfectly sculpted male in YA lit. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of cute boys (who isn't?), but if they're too beautiful, too fearless, too perfect, I just don't believe it. Even if my MC sees them that way, they can't actually be that way.

I think it's actually more interesting to allow your narrating character to have a glimpse of their boy/girlfriend's humanness. And love them anyway. That's real life.

That's human.

That's compelling.

What do you think? How do you make your characters more human? I actually make note of interesting things I see in the human life around me. That green hat. Those earrings. His personality trait. Her quirks.

And then I exaggerate them into (hopefully) endearing characteristics into (hopefully) compelling characters.

Want more opinions on this? Check out the (amazingly awesome) list below.

137 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

Holy buckets - that's a lot of posts about compelling characters! What a cool idea. Great stuff in this one, Elana.

Vicki Rocho said...

I don't know if I can get to 170...maybe if I work through it all weekend. Will give it a whirl.

Matthew Rush said...

Great points Elana! I totally agree. The main thing that provides believability, IMHO, is flawed characters.

Being petty, having momentary bouts of jealousy, pre-judging others, exhibiting selfish behavior, these are all very human traits that most of us let ourselves lapse into, if only briefly, nearly every day.

Characters who do the same seem so much more real.

BTW I had a guest on my blog today so my post for this fest will be going up either tomorrow or Monday, sorry to anyone who stops by looking for it today!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I'm with you on being tired of seeing perfect love interests. I'd rather fall in love with another person or character from the inside out instead of from the outside in.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great post! If characters aren't flawed they're really boring. I'll try to get around to a lot of them after work - probably won't get to them all though!

Renae said...

Well said Elana, genius as usual. Characters do need to seem more human...even if they aren't. And can I just say holy crow, that's a lot of entries! Thanks for hosting this awesome experiment!

Liza said...

Quirks, flaws, humanity, whatever you want to call it, they are necessary because for a reader to be hooked, he/she needs to be able to empathize with the characters,

Jessica Carmen Bell said...

I think it's going to take you all day to get through all of those!!! :o) Yikes! I agree totally. Exaggerate humaness indeed ... but what if your MC's a dog? hehehe

Liza said...

I forgot to say thank you to you, Alex and Jen for hosting this! Fantastic!

Jen said...

Humaness, couldn't have said it better myself :)

Misha said...

I love this post!

Characters have to resonate with readers to be compelling...

Christine Fonseca said...

Love this - and yes, make them human!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Yup yup and yup. Characters gotta be as real (and human) as possible. Great turn-out! I've had fun bog hopping today. Even if I'm one of the 60 participants who referenced Harry Potter. Great minds-right? lol.

Candyland said...

Actually this is really, really great! And so simple! They are human, so bring out their human-ness!Great experiment, E:)

Emily White said...

You know, I never actually thought of it this way. Great advice! :D

salarsenッ said...

Good luck with the links, and thanks for hosting! Alex and Jen, too. I missed participating. I'd already obligated myself to another writer's guest post. But it's great reading some.

I usually start developing a character with a thought they had or something quirky they'd say. Then a visual image blurps in my head. Finally the most important and, for me, the funniest part: I name them. It's all in a name, you know.

The Golden Eagle said...

Humanness is definitely one of the main points to a compelling character. It's the fundamental thing about everyone. Excellent advice!

Oh my. Those are a lot of links! I'll have to do a lot of them over the weekend, there are so many. Congrats on it, though!

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Great post, a lot to learn. I am absolutely enjoying the participant's posts... quite interesting! :-))

Doris

Hannah Kincade said...

You are so right! After all, it's our flaws and tiny little quirks that make us all different, bring us closer together, perfect imperfect companions. :D

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I try to bring out their emotions ('try' is the optimal word here).

Humans interact with others in their own unique ways. A character may treat her best friend differently in one book compared to a character in a another novel. One is loyal and would never act on her feelings towards her best friend's boyfriend. The other character might disregard the friendship for sake of the guy.

L'Aussie said...

Excellent advice Elana. Readers do want characters with flaws as we are all flawed. But as you say, exaggerate those flaws or a character is not going to be very riviting.

Woh, a lot of entries to get through!Thanks for co-hosting this 'fest..:)

Kelly said...

Thanks for hosting! Looking forward to all the great links!
And now I have the 80's Human League song, "Human" in my mind... (here's the vid for the young un's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1ysoohV_zA )

Rachael Harrie said...

Great advice Elana, and love the idea to make the MC's love interest a little less than perfect :) Can't wait to check out everyone else's blogs for the experiment...

Michelle McLean said...

lol I think my great blogging experiment will be to see if I can get through everyone's posts :D I love your tip! Making them human makes them real - who wants to read about a perfect character? :D

Natalie Aguirre said...

I agree with you on the guys issue. Most are normal like the rest of us, not some gorgeous hunt. Wow, it looks like there are a ton of blogs out there I don't follow. This is a great idea.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Flaws and hangups are essential.

Sorry, I got to work this morning and discovered the Internet was down, so I'm way behind on commenting.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Wow what a list! If I don't learn something today something is wrong with me LOL!

Great post and thanks for the experiment. I feel like a mad scientist bawhahaha!

Erica M. Chapman said...

Totally agree! I pay special attention to people too. I think they provide great ideas! Great post ;o) Thanks for this. It was fun!

Laura Pauling said...

I too am tired of the perfectly sculpted teen male. I'd rather read real. And I like your idea of exagerrating the humanness. Great point.

Bish Denham said...

Holy compelling character Batman! I've got SO much to do today, I know I'm not going to get to all these wonderful people's blogs. But at least I can come back HERE and click my way around.

Thanks for hosting this Elana.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Awesome Blogfest....I'm going to be a busy gal reading as many as I can.

Great point as well. A character needs to be human. Perfect is all well and good, but I need to see some flaws too :)

C. N. Nevets said...

I love that you don't say to portray their humanness -- you say to exaggerate it. It's like smiling for the camera. If you don't exaggerate, it gets lost through the medium.

N. R. Williams said...

I'm one of those post if you want to check out mine. I don't think I will get to everyone today. But we do have the weekend.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Ishta Mercurio said...

Over 170 posts - Holy WOW!

This is excellent advice. I'm a little bit jealous; I have blog post envy. This is why you have a book coming out and I don't yet, I think.

But I made the love interest in my YA less-than-perfect, so at least I know I'm doing something right! Yay!

Awesome idea to do this, by the way.

SusanneWrites said...

Too perfect characters in books bother me. That's why I agree: give your characters flaws!!! :)

clp3333 said...

As I kid I always hated superman for that same reason, he was way too perfect.

iZombie said...

as i have found by the people involved... great ideas, strong ideas. it is going to all weekend to read them all... nice helpful blog.... you should all be proud of your own personal accomplishments!
jeremy [iZombie]

Andrea Mack said...

Great post, Elana. If the character isn't believable, it ruins the whole book for me.

Congrats on this blog experiment! I'm enjoying reading all the different takes on the same topic.

Lola Sharp said...

I agree with you, E.

And, now I'm off to try and visit everyone's post. *blows a big breath*

I'm just proud I remembered to write mine this morning.

Now, on to the rest!

Happy Weekend,
Lola

stickynotestories said...

I agree! You have to have humanness to make a character compelling. Flaws are my favorite! :)

Thanks for doing this giant blog chain - it's really interesting to see all the different posts!

Julie said...

What a fun and awing sort of event. I love all the different takes on the topic! And I so agree with the "too perfect" guy in many YA books, when we know his feet really stink and he's probably insecure and just wants to be liked. Flaws are what make us real... and by the way, I'm really, really real. ;)

Cruella Collett said...

Holy chocolate cows? Haha, brilliant!

And I agree - humanity (ironically, even in non-human characters) is a key to making characters believable and likable (and even unlikable if that's the goal).

Congrats on the massive success of your experiment - I think you've all proved a point or two today :)

Angela said...

Good post. Yes, we all make mistakes. No one can relate to a flawless character.

Carolyn V. said...

Crap! I don't have my post done yet! I'm such a slacker! I'd better get typing!

Carol Kilgore said...

Perfect advice, Elana. I'm hoping my characters will be human, too.

Tere Kirkland said...

Doing stupid things is key. Just not too stupid, right? ;)

Have fun reading everyone's posts!

kellyhashway said...

I really don't like perfect characters. They aren't believable. I like my characters with flaws. The MC in my WIP has many flaws and I love her more for them. And her love interest has flaws too. She recognizes these flaws and still thinks he's wonderful. I like to be realistic. Creating that perfect girl or perfect guy gives people the impression that they really exist--and let's face it, they don't.

lotusgirl said...

That's perfect advice for me lately. My villain needs a little more humanness. He's bordering on cartooniness. I also need to include more human moments for the MCs.

Margo Berendsen said...

Okay, so I know that actors have to exaggerate in order to come across as good actors. So yeah it just makes sense that we need to do that with our characters, too - thanks for pointing that out! Very helpful!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You nailed it Elana! I always tell my students that literature (of any form) is ultimately meant to teach us what it means to be human. :-)

lbdiamond said...

Holy chocolate cow, indeed! Can't wait to read the entries! :D

melissa said...

Wow - lots of entries on this experiment!

I agree with you completely - who wants to read about a perfect character? That's not real life.

Patti said...

I like that, exaggerate their humanness. I need to work on that by digging deeper.

Nicki Elson said...

This experiment is so cool because with each post, I'm having at least one "aha!" moment where I'm seeing something from a new angle---and we're all blogging about the same thing! It's just so...cool.

In your post, my "aha" was when you talked about letting characters see the other character's flaws and love them anyway. This so strongly matches how I feel in real life, and I think you're exactly right that our fictional characters should to the same---especially in YA where many of the readers' young minds are just figuring out this whole love thing. Do we really want them thinking they have to be perfect to be worthy of another's love?

paulgreci said...

Great ideas, Elana! I often take things I see in real people and tweak them in my characters. Thanks!

Janet Johnson said...

That IS a long list. Very interesting experiment. So far, I haven't seen the same post. :)

And great suggestions. Especially the exaggeration part. Needs a little extra to stick.

Annette Lyon said...

I think you boiled "humanness" down nicely.

My post is up! #88 on the list--wow.

Michele Emrath said...

What a wonderful blogfest! I'm sorry I didn't see it in time to participate, but I agree with what you say here.

That's the way I write characters--writing down little things I notice about people and situations around me. Also, in other books--I write down situations and styles that strike me. Often, I turn these into blog entries before I write them into a character!

Click over and read the entries to my blogfest today--it's Southern City Mysteries' birthday!

I'll catch your next blogfest. :)

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

arlee bird said...

Excuse me!-- I've been trying to cut back on blogging. This is one successful blogfest. From now one you can only do one per year as it's going to take me a year to get thru this one.

You give the good advice about creating compelling characters. Everyone's gotta have a failure sometime, or at least an achievement that doesn't go as well as others, or at leat a hint of worry or self-doubt. I don't need perfect characters. I want someone I can empathize with.

What a post! What a blogfest!

Lee
Tossing It Out

~Jamie said...

Holy crap that's a lotttta blogs!

I wonder if any of us said the same thing?!?!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Holy moly, that's a lot of blogs signed up. Mega successful blogfest dear. although I worry for your eyeballs. Between reading your comments and the blog posts of all on the list, you've got your work cut out for you. You need to hire an assistant ;)

By the way, love your post on exaggerating the humanness. It's especially important in fantasy, I think, but also extremes work well in fiction. Otherwise it's just, you know, normal people being boring :P Hehe.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wow, it's gonna take some time to read through all these!
I agree with your post. Flaws make us relate and care.

Mara Nash said...

I hope after you read thru these nearly bazillion blog posts that you give us your educated scientific summary of the results of this experiment. I'm actually seeing many of the same points being made over and over...which just goes to show that there's a general consensus among readers and writers about what makes good characters! You said you expected that there would be as many different answers as there are different blog posts. I'd be interested to find out if after the experiment you still think so!

Isn't science fun? You never know what kind of outcome you're gonna get!

Krispy said...

Love your post! It's so true - humanness is key. I think the biggest for me though is CHANGE. A character can be loveable or super hateable but still not quite compelling if they don't change.

Colene Murphy said...

It really is amazing how different all the posts are today about the same thing but it's wonderful!
Great post. Humanness is the key. I think perfection in characters makes a reader feel badly on some level about themselves or their own life.

Jenn Johansson said...

Ooh, I wish I'd read this first. I already posted today about being grateful for my spam filter. Maybe I can turn that into something about characters. There in certainly a lot of interesting and possibly quirky information in that e-mail graveyard. Great post and awesome idea, Elana! :)

Shari Green said...

I love this Blogging Experiment. :)

"Exaggerate their humanness" reminds me of the advice to make our characters "larger than life" (is that from Donald Maass' book?). I never really had a handle on what larger than life meant, but the way you say it totally makes sense to me. Thanks! ;)

Jennie Englund said...

Another of your spot-on posts I'll print out and add to my collection...

Quinn said...

I totally agree about the perfectly sculpted hot YA guy. I mean, this is fiction and fantasy so of course the guy is going to be good looking, but you're right ... he needs to have flaws.

Stephen Tremp said...

I like your list very much, especially 5. Humans do stupid things and pay the price because of them.

I made my characters young and at a stage where they do stupid things that almost cost them their lives. But these events open the door for conflict and give the good guys an opportunity to be overcomers against almost insunountable odds.

Stephen Tremp

Susan R. Mills said...

Great points! I've read a lot of the posts already, and so far, no two have been the same.

Clarissa Draper said...

Make them human and give them quirky traits. Love it! Thanks for the blogfest. I had so much fun.

CD

Jen Chandler said...

"Exaggerate their humanness".
Love it :)

Off to write my post now!
Jen

Nicole Zoltack said...

Oh the humanity! LOL Great post and terrific idea, Elana! I think this blogging experiment was an awesome success.

Meredith said...

I like the idea of exaggerating their humanness--I never thought of it that way, but it's so true. Thanks so much for the blogging experiment! Definitely a success.

Faith said...

This has been a lot of fun so far... very interesting, learning a lot, and meeting a lot of new bloggers in the process!

I'd say it's been a rousing success :D

Shallee said...

Very simple and to the point! Thanks for sharing this, Elana, and for hosting the blog experiment!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I'm going to type up my thoughts, no worries about that. There have been some interesting things--some similarities, some differences. It's been fascinating.

And I think I've read and commented on about 70-80 blogs so far. Almost half! Go me! And I'm going to try to get to everyone, but I steadfastly refuse to blog on the weekend, so we'll see.

But I love all of you for participating! And I especially love those of you calling this a BLOGGING EXPERIMENT and not a blog fest. *wink, wink*

gargimehra said...

Phew, got there in time! My post is up! Do take a look. Am off now to traverse all 182 ways of creating compelling characters...

ali said...

This is excellent E. I love the comment about the character loving the boy EVEN THOUGH he has faults. We, as readers, can so relate to that.

Kelly Dexter said...

I love your example of the perfectly sculpted YA male. Some of my favorite relationships feature a character that is seen as somewhat less than perfect by the rest of the world, but who grow in our estimation because of the way those details are perfect when viewed through the eyes of another character.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Yeah, I had fun with the 'stupid things.' Even more fun showing the consequences!

Danyelle said...

I love that--exaggerating the character's humanness. I think that connection with humanity is part of what brings characters to life. :)

Jan Markley said...

I posted mine. It's called: What Lime Marmalade Teaches us about Character Development. Check it out on my blog: Three Dead Moths in my Mailbox...

http://janmarkley.blogspot.com/

Eric said...

Only Elana could get 184 people to join in on a blogging experiment! I like your take on it though, Elana. Great contribution to the subject. My post is also up at this point.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Thanks for hosting and thanks for letting me join. I enjoyed reading your post and will try my best to make the rounds.

Lyla said...

Yep, I'd say human is important... even for aliens. After all, the audience is human!

Dominique said...

I totally hear you about perfectly sculpted male MCs in YA. I went to high school, and just about no guy in that building was "perfectly sculpted." In shape does not equal formed in perfect marble. What happened to the scrawny nerd who'd definitely lose that fistfight with the bad guy. He's real and lovable too.

Hart Johnson said...

First, I want to thank you for instigating this blog fest--it's FABULOUS! And I think you nailed the things I try to think about too. The balance between consistency and growth can be tricky, but without the former, it isn't credible, and without the latter, I lose sympathy--I LOVE books that include some life lessons (though I can be patient if it is a series--they can't learn TOO fast or they end up jumpting all over the place)

And pretty people mostly annoy me. I by far prefer a non-traditional hero/heroine--any nothing bugs me more than somebody EVERYBODY seems to be in love with, unless you can illustrate that it makes sort of a jerk of them (because it does) Bella Swan--guys fall over her and she doesn't notice? PULEASE. If people are after you, you know--and it is either REALLY embarrassing and shuts a person down, or it makes them impossible because their ego sucks the air out of the room.

Not that I have strong opinions on the matter...

RaShelle said...

Whoa - this is alot of people. If we all can't get some words of wisdom today, well . . .

Thanks for the info. =D I especially like the stupid things, although in our house we say upid. My kids think that's better. LOL

Heather Spiva said...

Elana, your post is great. Thanks for giving us this opportunity, because it's uber-beneficial for everyone involved. "Endearing characteristics" is a huge element. Thanks.
-H

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Great post and a great experiment! Thanks for coordinating it.

I've only read a handful so far, but not much repeating yet.

Patricia A. Timms said...

I've already read a few posts and really liked them and now I'm looking forward to even more ways to make my characters compelling.

I love posts that really require me to think and this one did. Especially because of how many great posts have already gone up.

Thank you!

Robin McCormack said...

I was going to participate but have an extremely sick kid. Just came online for first time today and saw alot of hits on my blog from here. I completely forgot about it to tell you the truth. Will have to post something about it to let folks know. Sorry!

THE OLD GEEZER said...

I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

God Bless You ~Ron

Sara B. Larson said...

I can't believe so many people did this, how awesome! (and overwhelming... ;) )

Emphasizing the humanness is such great advice. And yes, the perfect man with perfect everything and the desire to kill the girl but somehow resists (for one reason or another) has gotten a little bit... done. Yes, some authors have continued to pull it off and do a great job. But I agree, give us some humanity for reality's sake. ;)

ElegantSnobbery said...

AWESOME, Elana!! And holy moly, I have a lot of blog posts to read!

Summer Ross said...

Making note of little traits and stuff- thats a great idea and easy to fit in a small notebook in a purse.

Jesse Owen said...

Wow! Great idea - I think i'm going to have a busy weekend reading all of these posts :D

DLCurran said...

Wow - over 180 to visit! Wow, again. I'm glad it's the weekend - time to get started!

I like the exaggerated humanness - brings it more clearly into focus. Yes. Bigger. Larger than life. I like it.

thegracefuldoe said...

I totally agree Elana, it's all about making the character human, with human flaws and weaknesses.

I'm going to try to get around to a few of the other posts, but not sure I'll get to them all. You've had a great response!

Rachelle said...

This was such a wonderful idea. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Elana. Talk about the hugest online chapter ever on writing compelling characters--time to go blog-hopping. :)

Angie said...

Wow. Up to 186 entries now. (I sadly won't be reading them all.) I like your advice. I love to watch people and make up personality traits for them.

Talei said...

Absolutely agree - make your characters as human as possible! ;) We want to relate to them. Thank you also for hosting such a great experiment!

Elizabeth Briggs said...

Thanks for hosting this! And your tips are great... the best characters are sort of larger than life, and yet so relatable at the same time.

Melissa said...

What an AMAZING turnout for your guys experiment!

Is it okay to be a little jealous of how well you summed it up? Cause I am. This post is great. It's all about writing humans, not characters, but making them more than any real life person could be. And I do agree about the perfectly sculpted male. I mean, there is a difference between being gorgeous and being real. Personally, I like my boys (in novels) to be good looking but have their flaws too. Like his eyes are maybe too close together, or his nose maybe is too big. You know? That kind of thing.

VR Barkowski said...

Excellent tips, Elana, And thanks to you, Alex and Jen for TGBE - Very fun.

Karen Lange said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. Human. Much of it falls into place from there. Thanks for the tips, and thanks to you, Alex, and Jen for putting this together.

Tamika: said...

My mind is swimming with all this great information. I want to give my characters a complete makeover:)

Kaylie said...

That's a challenge for sure when your characters see each other differently than how they actually are. If you're writing from one character's point of view, it's hard to show that they're not the same as your narrator says they are. Curse those unreliable narrators. My narrator is the reason all my female characters are underdeveloped--he sees them that way.

Alicia Gregoire said...

I'm totally on board with you on being tired of the perfectly sculpted male in YA lit. Also, I think you hit the main piece on how to make a character compelling - it's all about how human they are. I mean, how else are we supposed to relate to them?

This was a great project, btw.

Jackee said...

HUMAN! Yes! Preferrable even when they're animals. :o)

I'm still learning this one, but one thing I like to do is to throw them in the worst possible situations. That's when we see people doing and acting more on instinct, making mistakes. And (hopefully) characters come out this way too! :o)

Thanks so much for the experiment, Elana! It's been wonderful!!

Have a well-earned rest tonight. :o)

Margo Kelly said...

Um... oops. Kinda forgot. Limited storage capacity in my brain. However, my post did touch on characters a tiny little bit today... so I hope no one was terribly disappointed! eek. Let's give it another try! :) LOVE LOVE LOVE the concept! THANKS!

Angela M. said...

Oh my lord, Elana! It's over 190 now. Whaaaaaat. This experiment is exploding.

I agree that avoiding pure perfection in the characters makes them more human and compelling. I mean, how fun is it to hang out with someone who's always right? Yeah... no. It's better to find a balance between the strengths and the flaws. Too much of either can be off-putting.

To make them more human, I give them their own personal pain. Awful, right? But pain is something universally human, something the readers will identify with and ultimately sympathize with. Once that happens, they'll want to see the pain soothed so they will be, too. And if all else is in line, then they're hooked.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Hi Elana! True, true, true! I wrote a YA romance where the heroine is NOT a size 7. She's a size 12 or 13. But a boy falls hopelessly in love with her and it disturbs her because she doesn't think she's beautiful. I can't wait to get it published! :)

Thanks for hosting this, it was way fun!

Lynda Young said...

Too many characters lack humanness because they are all too perfect -- especially in appearance.

L.T. Elliot said...

One of my favorite movie characters of all time is in "The Painted Veil" with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts. Both of them are these incredibly "human" people that transcend their worst selves. It's powerful.

Excellently said, Elana.

michelle said...

Wow, Elana! What an awesome event. I'm glad I got to participate. Thanks for coming over to my blog and commenting. This has been a great opportunity for me to find other writer's and their blogs. I've loved hopping around reading about how other's create compelling character's. Thanks again.

Len said...

Hi Elana! I love the part about 'secrets'...yes, that's another one that keeps us reading! Characters' secrets! Thank you for coming up with this idea of The Great Blogging Experiment...it not only made me inspired to continue my writing, it also is bringing more blog-friends! So thank you, Elana, Alex and Jen! I love all of the posts! :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Elana... I too believe that humans have flaws, secrets, emotions. I love the idea of exaggerating their humaneness.
Thanks for the wonderful post.

Elana..unfortunately I couldn't participate in the Great Blogging Experiment. I heard about it too late. I feel so bad.It would have been fun.

Bethany Mason said...

I've really enjoyed reading a few of these posts. I've nominated you for a blog award. You can collect it here: http://emptythoughtsrewritten.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-favourite-blog-award.html

DL Hammons said...

Endearing! That's the word I was searching for when I wrote my own post. For me, that hits the nail on the head and their humnanity swings the hammer!

Sorry for being late, but I did finally get my post up. This was so much fun!! :)

Deni Krueger said...

Great idea, Elena. I'm looking forward to spending this week reading all the posts:)

Anna said...

Well I'd say the experiment has been a huge success! It's been fascinating to see all the different takes on what makes characters compelling. :-)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great post Elana!
I've never heard it put that way before . . . to exaggerate their humaness. The word exaggerate grabs me, and I love the idea because aren't we all tired of overly perfect characters? I especially don't like the Hollywood version on this one - hopelessly nerdy boy turns hero and gets the perfectly sculpted girl . . . aagh! Shades of the old King Kong movie where the sculpted hero rescues the sculpted girl who just screams and faints. We need a few more Han Solos and Princess Leias . . . but then that's my own character cut-out preference. H
Thanks for hosting this wonderful blogging experiment!

Cinette said...

I think the sculpted YA boys in our novels are our way of finally getting with that guy we had a crush on for three years;0)

Heather said...

Exaggerate their humanness, I love that! Brilliant idea! I like to pick a habit~since we all have them~and use that to make my character distinct and easy to relate to.

Margaret Duarte said...

Hi Elana. What a wonderful idea! I just heard about your experiment and don't have time to come up with anything brilliant right now. Will you be doing this every Friday? I'll check back and give it a try. Thanks for sharing. And by the way, consider me you follower as of now.

Rena said...

Wow! Great post, Elana.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

DONE! I read and commented on almost all of them I had trouble opening about 10, but that's it...Elana, if you happen to have an extra set of eyes, please post them to me...mine are bleeding. (smile) Lots of fun....I can't believe I ate (read) the whole thing (I'm counting it as the whole thing)...

Theresa Milstein said...

I can't believe how many people participated in this blogfest. I've enjoyed reading quite a few this weekend.

Pam Torres said...

Wow what a weekend! I still have several more to visit! This was such fun. Thanks for your leadership and your quirkiness. It makes you so endearing! Ha! Love ya!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

OMG that's a lot of bloggers! So. Awesome.

And I love your list...am copying it now. :)

Nichole Giles said...

Wow! Lots of fun. I love when you do these fun "lets all do this" things. They always rock-eth.

Thanks!

Charity Bradford said...

Elana, I'm drafting all of my letters for Nanowrimo (I'm ML for my area). Anyway, can I quote a few of your blog posts? I will include links to your blog and credit the parts I use to you. You've just said certain things so well, that why bother rephrasing it. :D

Let me know, Thanks!
Charity

Nathalie Schiltz said...

I think "human" characters are what great stories are made of. You want to like them, or hate them, but you want to feel SOMETHING about them. If you don't, you can't care about a story - "I want more and I can't stop thinking about this story" kindda care.

RaShelle said...

Elana - I can't believe I spent three straight days on this blog and didn't actually comment on it. Your 6 points were perfect in that humans are imperfect. So we need to make our characters that way . . . in an exaggerated fashion. Excellent.
Thanks for helping to put together the trifecta. This was such a fun blogfest. I had a blast!!!

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