Conveying The Character

„., selling Me. I'm selling an image. An image of an overweight, \ddle-aged letch. That's the image I'm trying to sell and I never act "" . basic theme "

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Albert Goshman

"Fully explain your characters through dialog, behavior, and appearance."

Nash & Oakey, The Screenwriter's Handbook

So you're at the point where you have your persona clearly defined in your mind. With experience that character has become both concrete and detailed, and the portrait has been committed to paper in your character profile. The only problem is that your audience doesn't know that you've decided you're magic's answer to Agent 007, James Bond. Now you have to transmit that image from your mind to the audience's mind.

Simply telling them won't do the job. You have to follow the writers' time-honored dictum, "Don't tell; show." You have to let the audience figure out for themselves what your character is. At least, you've got to make them think they're figuring it out for themselves. Naturally, you helpfully lay out a series of clues to guide them. The key to conveying a unique, clearly-defined character is consistency. The hallmark of hack fiction is the character who suddenly acts completely out-of-character in order to solve some plot problem for the author. Magicians often make the same mistake, breaking character to gain an easy laugh, to simplify some handling or presenta-

tional problem, or simply because they h,v . much thought. ey have° t Biven

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