Saturday, 7 April 2012

Novel Craft: Location and Characterisation


The best thing about books is the travelling and sight seeing from the cosy comfort of home and at convenient time. It takes you to New York and eggs you to click the Statue of Liberty from every angle, provides you a cruising ride in the Caribbean sea and gives you fishing experience in the warm current zone of Canadian Sea. It takes you to picturesque beaches like the Bundi, Miami, Goa, Mexican beaches or takes the test of your patience in a Red light area. It takes you to the West Minister Abbey or Trafalgar Square or cross the London Bridge on the Thames. 

Don’t you want to have Panipuri at the open expanse of the India Gate in New Delhi? Don’t you like to immerse yourself in the waves of the Arabian Sea with the Gateway of India at the backdrop? Don’t you like to dream your love looking at the smoke screen of the Niagara Fall? Think a place and there is a world of book to take you there. 

Book takes you on a Time Travel, keeps you in the Present and at times takes you to the remote future. It takes you to the Space, beyond the space and gives an opportunity to talk, dance, and feast with stars, constellations, planet or flirt with some fairies. 

Book world is so: mesmerising, wonderful and magical.
This is Location, let’s analyse its role in characterisations of the protagonists, antagonists or minor characters. 


Readers always want to know more about the main characters (MC) that is the protagonists, and antagonists. This necessitates the craft of Characterisation as character traits blossom in different settings. Different locations give a writer an opportunity to blossom characters in full flow and vigour.

When we eat, listen the same thing repeatedly, it leads to insipidness: a sense of boredom. A felling of monotony shrouds in the minds of readers. That’s why we wear various kinds of dresses on different occasions not forgetting to change colours to suit our moods. This keeps us fresh by look and feeling. 


Similarly in novel, characters require different settings, different locations for their full blossoming. In ancient time, two or three Petromax lights would illuminate a single drama stage. This was boring, dull and insipid setting that looked lacklustre in comparison to the stages of present days moving, glitzy and roving stages.  

A writer needs to take the characters to different locations and help them interact with different people and forces of nature or artificialities. Take them to a park; show us their reactions to greenery, flower, plants, bees, fragrance and air. Take them to sea; show us their reactions to waves, water and sand. Take them to a festival, on a joy boat ride, train journey, plane ride, or a cart ride as suitable to the theme of the novel. Take them to fracas and make them quarrel or quell. This will reveal their character traits, like happy, pettish, loving, jealous, sissy, compassion, sympathetic, their dress and eating preferences. 


This gives a good chance to a writer to show ability of playing with words and create sentences of beauty. The interaction with different locations adds a distinctive flavour to the theme and writing.

Try to make your writing vivid, beautiful and enhance readability by suitably using your imaginations about places and taking your readers and characters to different locations. 


Locations, many a times give opportunity to introduce minor characters to reveal the characters of main protagonists, that we call sub-plots.  A character can ill-afford to meet the same faces, in same setting everyday. He or she needs a change and sub-plots in books give that chance to writers to let loose their imaginations to keep a suspense element, like unfolding something at any moment or gradually.

Indian Cinema and Hollywood movies are known for their stupendous settings in which the characters eat, dance, celebrate, love, marry and die.
Use location and characterisation for better crafting a novel. Happy writing.

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