Saturday, December 29, 2007

Helen Keller, Character Development and Literature

How do you define and create a character? What are the secret techniques? Do you need to work on the following?

- The environment the character lives in;

- The character's position in society;

- The character's handicaps and strengths;

- Can the character be trusted, is the character inherently bad or loving;

- The character's view of the world;

- Is the character delusional about reality and where will this lead the story;

- Is the character spiritual and full of hope and bravery, or living with nothing to fall back on.

The techniques we follow can create either a weak meaningless character or a strong character that we can compare to Joan of Arc, Citizen Cane. Characters that have morals and have the will to achieve no matter the obstacles we put in their way. Or in another case someone who is bound to fail and have a sordid end.

Dracula has his environment and it works to build the type of person that is Dracula. In "The Lord of the Flies" the environment is an uninhabited island where the boys are forced to live in a certain way, in this case like savages. "Hercules" is tied to the Gods and his character revolves around his spirituality.

Creating a character takes great skill and one needs to develop and work on some of the above points. "Helen Keller" has been written about many times, to develop her character writers have concentrated their pen on her handicaps and strengths to project her character.

It is a fact that there is the rich and the poor and others somewhere in between. You need to define where your character fits in for the readers to know where your character is going and what risks the character can take? Where does the character fit into society? Is it survival for the fittest?

Characters in most cases let the reader reflect on the socio-economic, psychological, and the moral that is set, how to carry on in life in a world that is constantly challenging them. How we develop our characters makes for a good read or you can see your book make it back to the book shelf where it will be lost forever.

I have recommended these techniques and hope it helps you with your next big project.

Sean Tarquini received a liberal education at York University, Ontario, Canada. He writes books and for audio/visual presentations. His books are are available on and