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The Halo Effect

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 7, 2018

Should you chase the Halo Effect to sell more books?

 

I'm short and bald.... Well, shortish. According to the unwritten rules of personal bias, those are two strikes against me. I get no love from the Halo Effect.

 

I should explain. The Halo Effect is when you and I (independently or collectively) judge someone based on our personal biases. For example, tall men are generally viewed as strong and powerful before anything is even established about them. They don't have to speak a word before they are viewed as leaders. Obviously, not all tall men are leaders, but we have a cultural bias that often times causes us to assume that they are. They are given the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure there are tall men reading this, and they are countering the above statement with a litany of incidences that prove there are more drawbacks than benefits to being tall and male, but that is beyond the discussion I want to get into. What I'd like to discuss is how the Halo Effect impacts a writer when it comes to character development.

 

Think about it. If you want to know what your own personal biases are, look at the characters you've developed, particularly your protagonists, and then look to see how your personal character bias matches or defies societal norms. The question you are faced with is would it help you sell more books if you developed characters that are more in line with what society considers appealing.

 

Personally, I’d advise against chasing the Halo Effect in an effort to sell more books, but I fully admit that I don’t know if that is the right "business" move.  A lot of romance novels do very well, in part because they include characters that take full advantage of the Halo Effect.

 

I guess I'm perpetually pulling for the underdog. I love it when the shortish, bald guy gets the win.

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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950 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: character, character_development, character_arc, characterization, writing_characters
0

Scars

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 1, 2016

 

I want you to be unkind to a character. Just for a development exercise. In fact, I wouldn't even call it being unkind. I would call it being cruel to be kind. Hardship builds character, and that's what you're going to do with this exercise. This doesn't have to be a part of your story. It can be background material, or it can be used to help you break through writer's block.

 

I want you to pick a character that you're having a particularly hard time connecting with. Now give the character a scar. Make it as big or as small as you want. Place it where you want. Make it any shape that you want. Describe it in great detail. This scar has a story, and you're going to write it. Scars are essentially snapshots of traumatic events in a person's life. Keep in mind that trauma doesn't equal tragedy. Cesarean scars represent trauma but not tragedy, in most cases.


Beyond the event that caused the scar, you also want to explore how the scar affected your character on a daily basis. Did it change the way he or she interacted with other people? Did it change the way he or she dressed? Did it shape his or her personality, for better or for worse? It's possible this scar is tethered to every significant event in your character's life, and it is the essence of who he or she really is. Or it may carry no significance at all. You decide.


By giving your character this scar for the purposes of this exercise, you are giving yourself a simple way to uncover the core of who your character really is and make that connection you've been unable to make.


-Richard

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor

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1,065 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, character, character_development, characterization, character_arcs


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