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Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Start writing fiction: characters and stories

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6.1.4 Getting to know your characters

Figure 5

In the following activity you will have the opportunity to discuss Novakovich’s six methods with fellow learners – and writers!

Activity 6.1 Discussing Novakovich’s six methods

Consider the six key methods identified by Novakovich – summary; repeated action or habit; self-portrait; appearance; scene; combination of techniques. Discuss the topic with any fellow writers.

Think about the following:

  • Are there any methods that particularly appeal to you?
  • Do you enjoy describing a character’s appearance, for example?
  • Do you find it particularly effective to use dialogue to reveal a character?
  • Do you like the idea of defining your character through a particular habit of speech or gesture?
  • Do you think it is helpful to use summary to tell your reader what your characters are like and what they do?
  • Do you like the idea of using first-person narration, so that the character reveals themselves to the reader?

These are all methods that Novakovich refers to. Most writers, as he suggests, combine several methods, of course, so it is wise to bear this in mind, and to try various combinations in your own writing.