Okay, so I got a couple things going today, but y'all know I'm nuts, so I thought maybe you'd just roll with it with me.
First up... Alex Cavanaugh and co-conspirators are holding another BLOGFEST! (Two in one week? Are you nuts? Well I think you know the answer to THAT one.) The theme? Writing compelling characters! As writers, it is so important to do, and it is so obvious when you have and don't have them... but how do we GET THEM? (hold your breath—I'll get there)
Second! (and I warned you about this) It is NATIONAL PUNCTUATION DAY! Wahoo! (I talked briefly about THIS on Wednesday.
And because I am thoroughly insane, I thought what I WOULD DO is combine themes! *shifty*
(okay, now breathe)
I considered using MY characters, but you don't KNOW that, and since I have swim meets to attend and needy children this week, I thought characters most of you know might be more illustrative...
(My MC and her beau fall here, partly I think, because I find rational characters in irrational circumstances can be fairly amusing.)
(ALL the suspects, except one... you'll see her in a minute)
(My MC's dad, who seems quite popular with the ladies...)
?!: WAHOOOOO! Can you say WILD RIDE! These characters are over the top, unpredictable, and somehow can pull off what the exclamation characters can't because there is some QUESTION about them in addition to the excitement. LUNA!
(My MC's best friend and primary sidekick “I'm naked!” (she might have some of me in her))
The Helper Characters
Comma Characters: every story needs a couple place holders to set the pace—to keep things working in the flow you want... commas are one variety (the most boring, but least distracting form—only annoying when you get too many in a row. Parvati, Hannah Abbott, Justin Finch-Fletchy...
Ellipse and Em-dash Characters: These have a similar function but are a lot bossier about it, so you want to keep them to a minimum. I would classify Arthur Weasley as an Ellipse—he is whimsical and fun and adds... his wife, Molly however, is an em-dash—fierce, but for your own good.
Semi-colon Characters: I hear female writers have lots of these *shifty * They reinforce that two characters go together by being the pause between them... Cho Chang romantically but I think Neville is the best example (I say Neville because he often accentuates why things are so hard... he brings out the best and worst in others and allows us to see clearly (look at what he brings out in Draco versus Harry)
Colon characters: These try to increase order by annoying everybody. *cough* Seriously though... these characters instill structure that inadvertently work against our characters... (the police officer who is set in his ways and won't listen to my MC, for instance.) Most of the Ministry, Dolores Umbridge in particular, but Cornelius Fudge, too. (and their chocolate frog babies )
The main important point though (yes, there is one) is that a great story needs a combination... the periods to keep it flowing in an orderly fashion, the question marks to keep us curious and engaged, the exclamation points to shock us now and again, and the commas and such to break it up a little and make it flow in a little less choppy a fashion. And if you are REALLY LUCKY, you can create an interrobang character that people will pull out as an example of beloved, inside or outside the story, for ages to come.
So there... Now you're insane to.