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Handy How-to for Character Clinics

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Old 01-13-2009, 08:40 AM
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Default Handy How-to for Character Clinics


In Character Clinics, all posts are made from your character's point of view—in their voice—and all questions are directed to the character, not the member. It's not role playing, but rather a method for fleshing out otherwise flat characters.

Here are a few tips for working in Character Clinics. Once you've gone through them, view the stickied Character Clinic example thread to see it in action.

An Acceptable Character thread—State everything about the character; leave nothing out. Tell facts about the character's past, facts that come up in the story, facts that will come to play later on. Add in details—where your character sits to think, who he/she hates more than anyone else and why, how past love affairs have affected the character, etc. If you know it, put it in. Only then will other members be able to help you dissect and flesh out that character.

An Unacceptable Character thread—One liners and/or facts that aren't useful. Stating that your character, Carl, is a thirty-seven-year-old accountant will not give members much to work with. Write him out in detail.

Also remember, when answering questions, don't feel pressured to answer those that are not fitting of the character. For example, if someone asks about a possible past trauma in your character's life, and your character has not experienced any, don't feel pressured to make one up just because someone asked.

Replying to a Character's Thread—Be as helpful as you can. If something stood out in the introduction thread, ask the character about it. Perhaps the author hadn't thought of how this came to be. Address your questions to the character, though you can address the member in parentheses or a new color font if you have something helpful to say about characterization.

Please don't post without questions for characters or other helpful stuff for the author. This is a special clinic for characterization. It can be disappointing for the OP to see new posts but find that they're not directed at the character in question.

So, what if a character already has a fleshed out past, and is perfectly plausible?

Character Clinics can still help by offering your character quirks and a little spice, give him that one trait that will take him from the page into your reader's heart, make him linger long after the last page has been turned. If you think you'd gotten everything down to the bone, think again. Chances are, many others will bring up issues you hadn't considered.

In short, Character Clinics are here to help, and help they shall. Now go, have fun! Open up your characters and discover things about them you never even knew.

* * *
Character Clinics Rules and Guidelines

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Last edited by HoiLei; 07-11-2009 at 04:56 PM..
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