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Mary Balogh on the Gift of Observation in Creating Characters

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Excerpt From Part 3 (“Being a Natural Observer”) of Chapter 1 “A Portrait of a Novelist” in The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists (ed. Andrew McAleer)

101 Habits

The ability to create realistic characters obviously depends very largely upon one’s ability to observe other people. Being an introvert is probably an advantage here. But it is not enough merely to look and listen and get to know people from external signs, however detailed and accurate one’s observation is. It is more being able to put oneself right inside the body, mind, and soul of another person, to be able to imagine what it is like to be that person. True understanding and empathy can come only from that type of observation.

Characters in a book can seem as real as living persons to the reader if the writer has the gift of portraying them from deep within, from the level of their very being, with all the myriad factors that have made them the unique individuals they are.
~Mary Balogh
(quoted from pg. 8)

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IYWM - Mary Balogh

About the book:
Learn from the MASTERS!

In The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists, more than fifty of the greatest fiction writers of our time show you how they practice their craft. You’ll gain insight into every aspect of fiction writing, including:

Coming up with ideas
Knowing what makes a great story
Developing dialogue
Overcoming writer’s block
Creating a pitch synopsis
Promoting yourself

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists is a “who’s who” of today’s great fiction writers that will quickly become your most trusted writing companion!

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Work Cited:

Balogh, Mary. Quoted in “A Portrait of a Novelist” in The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists. Andrew McAleer, ed. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2008. 3–20. Print.

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