Posted by Jeff Markowitz on Thursday, October 20, 2011
Last night, at the Somerville Library, I was discussing how to develop
fictional characters that readers will care about and I was reminded of
this scene from the Woody Allen movie, Sleeper.
you have here... I diagnosed the entire situation, and I think what
we've got, what we're dealing with basically is a nose. I think we're
all in aggreance on that. I have the little beggar right here. And
what you want basically is a whole entire person connected to that nose,
right? Otherwise, you'd get your money back." (Woody Allen, in
And that, basically, is how I create fictional
characters. I start with a nose and using that nose, I create a whole
person, I "clone the patient directly into his suit."
it's not always a nose. With Mr. Garibaldi, the attorney of record for
the Sand Skeeter Baseball Club, it was his feet. It might be a
nickname (Detective Eddie "Eggs" Bebedict) or a growl (Greta, the
waitress with Tourette's). I start with one small thing that I know
about the character and I build out from there until I have a fully
formed human being.