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From One Young Writer To Another: Creating Human Characters Part 1 of 5

By Andrew Boryga on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - View Comments

Creating the perfect character is as intricate as piecing together a puzzle.

Stories take place in all types of regions and eras, with characters of all types of races, ages and social classes. But when you boil each story down, they are really about the same thing: human nature. They all seek to capture an element of the struggle it is to be human and the conflicts (big or small) one faces in the course of a lifetime, year, day, hour or even minute. Therefore, for readers (humans) to sympathize with a piece of fiction and really be moved by it, they must see something of themselves in the characters that inhabit it.

Humans are complex. We become victims of our emotions and become sad or happy at the drop of a dime. We have vices and things we do that we are too afraid to tell others for fear we wouldn’t be loved. We have thoughts we would rather take with us to the grave than share. We have fragile egos prey to the words and actions of others. We have problems showing love and affection; we have problems receiving it. We lie. We cheat. We steal. We betray.

As a writer, it would be impossible to capture all these facets into one character. In fact, trying to do so is where a lot of writers go wrong –– especially young ones. We create characters that are too generalized because we want them stand for a sect of people: a typical NYC teen, a typical housewife, a typical dad. However, creating a “typical” anything only leads to a flat unoriginal 2-D character that will make your narrative stagnant. Original characters fuel great stories –– individuals with unique intricacies, problems, beliefs and behaviors, and those are the characters we must strive to create. Read more »

Success By Plot: “The Walking Dead”

By Jessica Digiacinto on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - View Comments

the-walking-dead-amc-cast-06-550x440Violence doesn’t turn me on.  In fact, gore is the fastest way to make me run out of a movie theater crying like a little kid.  There are lots of reasons why horror movies don’t do it for me – not the least of which is knowing some dude (because let’s face it, it’s mostly dudes) had to come up with those scenarios – but the long and short of it is, if someone’s getting cut up into little pieces, I’m probably not watching.

That is, until I stumbled upon AMC’s new series “The Walking Dead.”

I didn’t plan on watching it.  Too many Facebook status updates happily describing how violent it was had me sure I would never see an episode.  But then I got bored.  And started writing something that teetered on the supernatural.  And since iTunes was letting me download the first episode for so cheap, I decided that watching it on my computer would not only give me some creative ideas, but also allow me to switch to YouTube videos of laughing babies if stuff got too gross. Read more »

More: Reviews, TV

“Goodbye Solo”: An Unsentimental Journey

By Jennifer Blevins on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - Comments Off

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Glancing through the NY Times film reviews last week, “Goodbye Solo” caught my eye. Set in Winston-Salem, a Senegalese cab driver and a washed-up old man develop an unlikely friendship as they traverse the roads of North Carolina. I was born in Winston-Salem and went back there for college, so the novelty of seeing W-S on the big screen at the Angelika Film Center in Soho was an opportunity I could not let pass me by. As it turns out, I was rewarded for my curiosity. Read more »

More: Movies, Reviews