Alex J. Cavanaugh has been amazing blog-friend since April this year, when I met him as one of the hosts of the A To Z Challenge. Since then, I’ve admired his blog, and have stood in awe of his Ninja army–his loyal and ever-expanding band of followers (I’m one of them!), and his warm, friendly presence on the internet. So, today’s guest post is from him, telling us all writer-bloggers how he works his magic!
You don’t need an MFA to be a great writer—let’s get that out of the way, as it seems to be the biggest debate point in writer circles these days. We all know this, we can all name at least twenty ‘great writers’ who had no training, blah, blah, blah. Okay, that’s done. To MFA or not to MFA is not the question.
We can start the story there and as we write we will find out more about the character. Indeed, that’s the fun: watching the character grow organically as you tell the story, rather than requiring them to meet some preset list of traits. Surely, if we want to create believable characters – characters that readers will empathise with – they should react to the situations we place them in, rather than merely have them ticking off a checklist?
Characteristics and motives are what the reader uses to identify each character as an individual. Any writer can become published but real success for a writer comes from being read. Characterization is a part of what determines whether or not a work will be read.