Albert Zuckerman: ‘What counts in judging a character for the reader is limited to what we actually see the character do, as opposed to what is said about him.’

The quote is, of course, from Zuckerman's book 'Writing the Block Buster Novel'. It is made with reference to a certain Don Corleone. Zuckerman is showing how Puzo makes him sympathetic. That general advice is very good, but I was particularly fascinated by this quote in particular, as it is so astute, and explains an … Continue reading Albert Zuckerman: ‘What counts in judging a character for the reader is limited to what we actually see the character do, as opposed to what is said about him.’

Cardboard Characters, Lovable, Rounded Characters, Larger Than Life Characters,and Mere Ciphers: How Sympathetic Must a Character Be to Keep You Reading?

In my last post, I was talking about my new fledged writer friend being upset at the savagery of a one star review (though she felt a bit better when I showed some of the fine specimens I have come by). Readers of this blog might remember that the main criticism was that her book … Continue reading Cardboard Characters, Lovable, Rounded Characters, Larger Than Life Characters,and Mere Ciphers: How Sympathetic Must a Character Be to Keep You Reading?

What Makes a Reader Empathise with a Lead Character is Often an Indefinable Combination of Things

Re-reading my favourite novel by Margaret Atwood, ‘Bodily Harm’, made me wonder, as I have done before, whether or not you have to identify strongly with the lead character to be really drawn in by a novel.I like the main character, Renny Wilford, well enough – I like her courage, and her detached, cool humour. … Continue reading What Makes a Reader Empathise with a Lead Character is Often an Indefinable Combination of Things

More on Antagonists: Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Sylvia’s Lovers’ and the Eponymous Lovers as Antagonists.

Following on from my recent post about antagonists, it is interesting how that role is often played by an inhuman character, and can even be an impersonal force. Sometimes, the identity of the antagonist can even appear to shift from one character to another: one formerly not perceived as an antagonist can become one as … Continue reading More on Antagonists: Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Sylvia’s Lovers’ and the Eponymous Lovers as Antagonists.

Plasticity,Recycled Characters and Beloved Brothers: Part One: Elizabeth Gaskell

In an earlier post, I discussed how Elizabeth Gaskell used a particular character type - suely largely based on her lost and beloved brother - the charming, brave, dashing and handsome sailor, three times, in slightly different variations. She used this character type possibly four times, if I count the returned sailor 'Poor Peter' in  … Continue reading Plasticity,Recycled Characters and Beloved Brothers: Part One: Elizabeth Gaskell