Characterization Lives In The Little “Somethings”

Allison Maruska

Last night, I started outlining a new story. There are two POV characters. One is Beth, an English woman whose story occurs in 1981. The other is Sonia, an American woman (I haven’t figured out which city yet) living in the present day.

character-quoteI know basic details for each character.

Beth – English, a primary school teacher, married, romantic (idolizes Lady Di), a little anxious, can be disorganized. Has long, dirty-blonde hair that’s unruly at times. She’s short and a little overweight.

Sonia – African-American, lives in a big city, political science professor, engaged, tall, fit, type-A. Prefers intellectual conversations to dreamy flights of fancy.

Those are good details to start, but as get to know them, I realize I need more. I need those little “somethings” that make someone special. Unique. Real.

The risk when creating characters is to fall into stereotypes. Like the Hemingway quote suggests, we want…

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