Summary & Homework, March 11th Class

Today, we discussed the difference between Flat Characters and Rounded Characters. You can read more about these types of characters here, and here. I agree with Gayle Moran’s observation, true of both flat and rounded characters, that:

The requirement of good fiction is that each character be characterized fully enough to justify his or her role in the story and make it convincing.  Most short stories will hardly have room for more than one or two very fully developed characters. Minor characters must necessarily remain flat. If the primary intention of a story is something other than the exhibition of character, none of the characters need be fully developed.

Read the rest of her comment here. In other words: every character should be potentially rounded, but only a few will be obviously rounded in a story… the minor characters will be flatter from our perspective. Still, even the best flat characters have hints of roundedness that shine forth on occasion.

I’m going to sum up your homework to date, since it’s all due next Wednesday, during which we will have our only class of the week (from 9am to 11:50am):

  1. You must (if you have not yet done so) submit the “story of your life” as I described below: not the whole story of your life, just a formative scene.
  2. You must have gone out with your classmates as a group, and in the process of getting to know one another, have completed the Student Information Sheets (downloadable below). You will submit the sheets on Wednesday as well.
  3. You must have read (and be ready to discuss) the HP Lovecraft story “The Music of Erich Zann” that I linked below.
  4. You must have filled out the online form for student information, which is linked below.
  5. You must have watched some TV and made a list of the Flat Characters you noticed in the shows you watched. Make a list of traits that make those characters immediately familiar, or “stock characters,” and also note if they have any traits that make them unique. If you have no idea what TV shows to watch, I suggest Weeds, Lost, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, and Dexter as full of great examples of flat characters. You needn’t hand in this list, so just take notes and, once again, be ready to discuss them in class.
  6. You must have an approximately 500-word scene featuring a Flat Character (alone, interacting with others, or whatever: it’s up to you) written and ready to hand in. I will read a few examples aloud and we will discuss them in class.
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