Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Herman Melville - Notes on William Cane's "Write Like the Masters"


Melville’s writing style:
• Full of meaning, symbolism and emotion
• Rolling meter and alliteration
• Sometimes accused of overindulging in hyperboles and exaggerated characters

- Melville used four literary devices to characterize:
Complexity - Create characters with conflicting qualities (ie: refer to Alanis Morissette's song, "Hand in my Pocket")

Unreliability – Other characters speculate about the character

Selection – Melville only reveals a few main traits (ie: madness)

Mystery – Keep certain facts unknown about the character

- A conversation between two characters about the main character makes the main character more mysterious and unreliable.

- Don’t make your hero too perfect; allow him or her imperfections and foibles, so readers can see a reflection of themselves in him or her.

- Have characters wonder about the other characters, about their motives, their actions, their goals.

- Select two or three traits to focus on when creating main characters.

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