The Character Series Part 5/5: Characters Beyond the Internal
VISUAL TRAITS AND TAGS
You are wondering what a Visual Tag (VT) is. A VT is a visual thing that you identify with the character. It could be a nervous tick such as an eye twitch or a swagger or how they wear their hat a certain way or even how they walk around with their shoes untied with short laces. The VT gives a distinction to the character and should enhance the connection and description of the character and serve a purpose. For me, the shoelaces would be for a younger person who is perhaps attempting to be cool or unique or trying to fit in with a certain crowd.
Dialogue Tags are things most writers now about, but don’t often consider being character related. We think of them as he said or she said. But there are affectations a character may have that you can mention, or how they whistle on certain letters or cannot pronounce certain words or letters properly. Once established you don’t overuse the tag any longer.
DIALOGUE: BOTH VOICE AND PHYSICAL
Dialogue is the key to your characters and often times the accepting or rejecting of your novel to be signed. I’ll get into Dialogue in another series because it is such a large subject but how one speaks externally and internally tells you everything you need to know about a character. Dialogue tends to be my stronger point, or so I believe, while I need to focus on a lot of the external and sensory things. Dialogue cannot be the book but it is a huge part of the book.
Body Language is something we forget about. The tension in how someone holds their shoulders drawn up so tight that they almost reach their ears.
What is another way to know a character? You need to see them in action. Seeing them react in certain situations and those reactions staying within character you have created. It’s an interesting thought but think of someone like Mr. T as B.A. on A-Team. Quiet for the most part, but his actions said enough. A tough guy with a heart. You didn’t really need any words. And it isn’t just action heroes this works with. You need to have the tender moments shown by the characters as well. Even a man on the witness stand at a murder trial has action.
Part 1: Creating Character Names
Part 2: What to Avoid when Creating Character
Part 3: Giving Your Characters Their Character
Part 4: Creating Believable Characters
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