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"Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God." Psalm 102:18

"Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others." Habakkuk 2:2

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What Makes a Great Character?

My family and I traveled to Virginia late last evening, and along the way we listened to part of Focus on the Family's Radio Theater Anne of Green Gables. I had purchased it back in May of last year, and this was our first opportunity to listen to it. We often use long car trips to hear things like this. It reminds me of when my two boys were young, and we would drive cross country trips to Kansas. We all looked forward to the time spent together in the car, listening to these types of programs. How quickly the years have passed!

I digress. Within just a few minutes of listening to the performance, I was struck by L.M. Montgomery's knack of having her characters jump off the page through her written words, particularly Anne. This young heroine becomes endeared to the reader, through the depth of her character.

I guess this is uppermost in my mind, as I start to think about and plan the details for the story that God has put on my heart. It has been a very long time since I have written a fiction piece. My latest writings constitute blog posts, nonfiction pieces, Bible studies and home school articles. I guess you could say that I am out of practice when it comes to this type of writing. My brain is a bit rusty in this area of developing characters.

I contemplated this on the car ride to VA, as we listened to the audio drama. I know that there are books that I have read that the characters are quite flat, and others where they sparkle and just seem to jump off the page. Sometimes when I am in the middle of reading a good story, I may find myself thinking about the characters from it.

I guess a great writer is able to breathe life into their characters and allow the reader to witness their story as if they were living in it themselves. Sometimes as the reader, you may feel that you are watching the story unveil by viewing it through a window. Other times, you may find yourself intimately involved within the saga itself.

Jesus too was a story weaver. He taught His listeners, through the parable or adventure that He created. He was the master of characters with depth.

These are the thoughts that I am pondering this day...

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