- How to Build Story People by Dwight Swain
- How to Read a Person Like a Book by Gerard Nierenberg
- Dynamic Characters by Nancy Kress
In the March 2009 issue of The Writer, "Breathe Life into Your Characters" by Sam McCarver offers some good suggestions (paraphrased here) for character-building. They need:
- an independent life
- their feelings demonstrated by actions, dialogue, and thoughts
- goals that challenge and give meaning to their existence
- their own distinct characteristics shown through habits and personality traits
- their imperfections
- names consistent with their personalities and the part they play in the story
- real-life relationships that show they're human
I'm anxious to see what Nancy Kress has to say, too. When my own characters don't live in my heart and soul, I know they need more developing, and that's the case with the characters in BV.
I've also been struggling with copyright issues surrounding song lyrics, poems, and quotes that I like to use in my writing. Usually (there could be exceptions) songs written before 1922 are considered in the public domain. I wanted to use two lines from a song with the same title as my novel, but reading other authors' takes on the subject, it wasn't even worth trying to track down the copyright holder and get permission---not was it worth the risk of being the subject of a lawsuit!
In the search for information, I stumbled on two books which look helpful:
- Getting Permission: How to License and Clear Copyright Materials Online and Off by Richard Stim
- The Public Domain: How to Find Copyright-free Writings, Music, Art, and More by attorney Stephen Fishman.
Characters and copyright---both are haunting me these days! Hopefully, I'll improve the first and not make any missteps with the second! As for the article I mentioned earlier, I'm taking for granted that using the ideas here is similar to writing a research paper: I have not quoted them word for word, and I have given credit both to the author and the source.