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Critical Reading: As You Read (Characters)

Monday, November 26, 2007

As promised, today I’ll give you a list of questions to consider about characters as you read. If you need a refresher on what makes characters credible, check out the Creating Credible Characters series.

  1. What is each POV character’s goal, motivation, and conflict?
  2. Is each POV character well-developed and three-dimensional?
  3. Are secondary characters realistic and completely developed? Are they necessary? Do any secondary characters steal scenes from the main characters? Are there any secondary characters whose roles could be combined to cut down on the number of characters?
  4. What are the conflicts that arise to keep the characters from reaching their goals?
  5. Do you care about the characters and what they’re going through?
  6. Do the characters have a PHYSICAL presence in each scene? (Do you see them through movement, actions, and description?)
  7. Is each character’s internal conflict realistic and believable?
  8. Is there ever a time when a character does something out-of-character for the way the author developed him/her?
  9. Does any character ever become whiney or overly angst-ridden in such a way that they just come across as annoying? Do you ever find yourself wishing they would just shut up!!!?
  10. Are the character’s strengths and weaknesses real? Are they used to good effect as the character meets conflicts?
  11. Do you like the main characters enough to want to read a sequel featuring them?
  12. If a sequel featured one or more of the secondary characters, would you want to read it?
  13. What do you like best about the characters?
  14. What do you like least about the characters?
  15. Is there one (or more) character(s) you think the author should have left out?
  16. If you could steal one character from this book and use him/her in your own story, which one would it be? Why?
  1. Tuesday, November 27, 2007 6:37 pm

    As I was reading this list, I was applying the questions to one of my favorite characters, Jo Beth Siddon, created by Virginia Lanier in her Bloodhound series. These will help me pick her apart to see why I enjoy reading her so much.


  2. Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:13 pm

    There seem to be a ton of whiney, angst-ridden heroines lately. (LOL, I was writing one myself until I toughened her up!) Good thought on combining secondary characters to make one really strong one.



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