Episode 69: John Dalton—Ten Ways of Thinking about Character
All good fiction is built around a writer’s fascination with made-up people. And as practicing writers, we’re well aware that our characters should be more than “talking heads”; they should have depth and range and complexity. But how does this happen? Part of it—the unteachable part—has to do with our own self-awareness. We understand our own flaws, contradictions, and virtues so well that we begin to understand people who are not ourselves. But another part comes down to technique. In this Eleventh Hour, John Dalton presents an array of helpful rules, suggestions, craft examples, and innovative ideas. Some of the ideas are John’s, but others have been harvested from a diverse range of writers: Gustave Flaubert, Emily St. John Mandel, Joyce Carol Oates, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. One example of vivid characterization comes from the life of a Titanic survivor.