I am going to do my damnest to sum up the workshop I took last weekend. First let me say, it was AMAZEBALLS how great this workshop was. Damon Suede is a wonderful presenter. My local RWA chapter, Windy City, held the all day workshop, and I was quick to grab a ticket as soon as I found out about it. He’s also going to be headlining at the Chicago North Spring Fling Conference in 2018, so guess where I’ll be.
Second let me say everything I’m about to divulge is all from Damon’s speech. None of this information came from my head- I just want to be sure we’re giving credit to the right person, because I have never heard character writing like this before!
In case you don’t know who Damon Suede is here’s a little something about him. I met him at RT this year, he sat next to me at the book signing. That’s when I learned about him, and really admired not only his work but how engaging he is with his readers.
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.
Basically, it boils down to this. Characters aren’t people. Sure, we love them like they are our children, and we think of them often after we’ve written their story, but they aren’t actual people. Damon said, “Characters aren’t people, they’re constructs to extract from audiences.” They are what we use to pull emotions from our readers, because that’s what we want, what they want, a nice rollercoaster ride.
So when you look at it this way, the best way to do this is to do something, perform an action of some sort. VERBS! Characters are verbs.
Think about your character, what is it they do? Damon used the example of Mr. Darcy- he protected. His verb was protect. And Lizzie’s verb was provoke. And in every scene they performed those verbs.
Now that you know what they do, what is their “void”? What is their “inner wound/loss/desire”? This could probably go hand in hand with their flaw.
Each scene should act to move these things along. They perform their action, which is driven by their void, and moves the story arc as well as the character arc. Since everything they do must matter, else why are we writing about it, as they move from one action to the next they tell us their story.
Good and confused? Excellent!
It was a great workshop. I’m still working through my notes to be able to put it into practice, but just thinking about characters in this manner will help my characters become richer and more rounded.
And he has written an article explaining this much better than I ever could. You can check it out here.
If you want to find out how to attend one of his classes/workshops check them out here. I highly recommend tracking him down and attending!
He’s going to be doing a bunch of stuff at RWA Nationals, so those that are attending be sure to check him out!