Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What I know about character building I learned from an Anne Geddes photo




Sometimes I think Anne Geddes photography is inventive, sometimes I think it’s creepy. She takes a newborn and makes it look like flower. She wraps a peanut-sized baby into an afghan and makes it look like… well… a peanut. We look at her pictures and know we are looking at a baby, but we also see how it reflects a flowering pot (or whatever they are dressed up as). In writing fiction characters, we also give the illusion that the person we’ve created is more than it appears. We dress it up until the smoke of our imagination resembles a real person. Then we take that smoke and blow it in the direction of our readers, hoping they’ll see through the dress-up, but mostly hope they’ll see themselves in what we’ve created enough to relate to the book.

So to all you writers out there who are struggling as much as I am with good characterizations, good luck with dressing up your smoke. That flower pot hat is worth the beautiful snap shot you’ll get. :o)

P.S. I thought this blog post by Shannon Hale about rating books on Goodreads and Amazon before they are published is hilarious. Check it out!

14 comments:

  1. Entertaining analogy. We are creating the illusion of something. And we all have the parts we struggle with, whether it be characterization or dialogue or a myriad of other aspects of a story.

    Good luck with your character-building.

    I've missed your blog posts!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How or where did that 3 stars out of 5 come from for Shannon Hale's book? How bizarre!!! :-) Glad she's able to laugh it off - but it's still weird!

    Awww yes, dressing up characters!!! I just hope mine will elicit opposite reactions like looking at those flower pot babies! One side of me thinks "awww cute", one says "er... no!". LOL!

    Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't wait to get a look at some of your flower-pot babies! Just kidding, I'm being totally patient over here, really, I am...really. :)

    Shannon Hale's post was hysterical. What in the world was that person thinking?

    ReplyDelete
  4. So true! Her pictures are so creative! And we do have to work hard on creating those illusions :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm looking forward to you getting some of your plant pots in my inbox... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. i love the analogy, "dress up your smoke" great line :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I guess we all do this to create deeper layers in our story. And I think it works when done well.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a clever picture!

    It's all about different people having different perceptions.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Intersting analogy, Jackee. I think Anne Geddes pictures are so precious.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I know I'm reading great book when I hold onto those characters like they're in the next room. Looking forward to checking out that Shannon Hale post!

    ReplyDelete
  11. haha! I loved Shannon Hale's rant. I have thought the same thing when I see ratings for books that have yet to be released... "How the heck to they KNOW what to rate it?"

    ReplyDelete
  12. I find Anne Geddes photos really creepy. But I love this comparison. Dressing up the smoke is no easy task. Here's hoping we learn fast. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great connection. I like the idea of the illusion that is created but there is still more that just the costume.

    ReplyDelete