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Brenda Faye Collie – How Writing Plays Has Helped Me

How Writing Plays Has Helped Me  To Create Characters in Fiction

by Brenda Faye Collie

I have always seen myself as a playwright.  Recently I began writing young adult fiction.  Although they are different forms, when it comes to developing characters, the process is the same.

In playwriting a character, the protagonist has three dimensions; physiological, sociological, and psychological.  Thus, the protagonist in a novel has the same three dimensions to make them believable, three dimensional and true to their characters.

A playwright shows a protagonist’s sociological dimension much easier than a novelist.  The playwright’s character played by an actor is visible to the audience.  Through the character’s dress, his way of speech during his dialogue and his dialogue with other characters on stage helps an audience member to know, for example, his social class, education and and/or occupation.

In fiction the novelist uses description that paints a picture in the reader’s mind’s-eye to the protagonist’s social class for example.  The diction in the dialogue of a stage play helps appreciate the character.  But what is key is description.  The writer must take the reader on a journey without the help of a live person.

The physiological make-up of the protagonist is visible on stage before an audience whether for example, the character is tall, has a mustache, how old he is, or he has a birthmark on his check.  A novelist must show the physicality of a protagonist through description using imagery words to help the reader visualize the character’s age and so forth.

A playwright uses soliloquy to tell a protagonist’s state of mind, his actions can show his moral or immoral self, through dialogue with other characters, can reveal his past and present psyche.  In fiction the narrator tells what a protagonist is thinking, or his state of mind is also shown through his actions and his relationship with other characters lets one know where the protagonist is mentally at past or present time.

To have a three-dimensional protagonist in both forms these three dimensions must be present.  Writing plays has taught me to incorporate these three elements in my protagonists in young adult novels.

Examples: Physiological dimension examples: eye/hair color, age, height/weight,  appearance (clean, sloppy, pretty shape of body, face.) , scars or handicaps (physical, mental, emotional.)

Sociological examples: class (lower, middle, upper), Race, ethnicity, marital status, birthplace, religion.

Psychological dimensions: morals, extrovert, introvert, ambivalent, basic nature, philosophy of life, beliefs.

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Genre – Young Adult

Rating – PG

More details about the book

Connect with Brenda Faye Collie via email

Website http://www.daylightbooks.net/#!

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