Today, the letter C will symbolize characteristics of great characters:
Do you know your characters? Generally? Mostly? or Intimately? JK Rowling once said, "It's important that I know everything there is to know about my characters, but it's not important for my reader to know them as well as I do."
I love that line because it is completely true. Writers should have a deep personal relationship with their characters. As Donald Maass says in his novel, Writing the Breakout Novel, all stories are character driven. If you are going to write about someone else's journey, it is your responsibility to portray them accurately.
Case in point: I recently began rewriting one of my novels (I know...the horror!). The character (who shall remain nameless for the moment) in my head is very strong willed, mischievous, dedicated and loyal, not to mention, fiercely competitive. He likes to showcase a bad boy image with a good guy heart, and in one scene, he has just been violently ill. I wrote a line where he is doubled over in pain when a rival approaches and instead of toughening up and appearing strong, the character reads like a weakling. My critique partner nailed me on it. She said, "In these lines, he comes across as puny and shallow, but in the next line he is tough. Which is it?"
It made me start to think about what I wrote in regards to his actions. All I focused on was his sickness. He would have been stubborn and cantankerous, even if not feeling well.
So, here's my challenge to you...read a few action lines from your manuscript and see if it rings true to the character in your mind.
Lastly, here are my characteristics of great characters:
Things to think about with the characteristics of character: (courtesy of Donald Maass's twitter feed)
1) Whom is your MC afraid to let down? What is the sacred trust between them? What would cause your MC to break it? Then, Break it.
2) What secret is your MC keeping? Who is keeping one *from* your MC? Spill the truth at the worst possible time.