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I Am Neill! A case study

Article By: Xavier Morrison

Thanks to all those who read my short story 'The First Noel'. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I appreciate that. This story is especially personnel to me as it is based on actual events which transpired over three Christmas seasons when my daughters were small children. It has been recently submitted for publication to a number of literary magazines and contests. I will keep you informed of the results.

Submitted:Aug 6, 2011    Reads: 31    Comments: 4    Likes: 2   

I thought some of you might find this amusing. I certainly did!
I've been posting on The Next Big Writer site. The following is a review of The First Noel and my response:

Date: Aug 5, 2011
From:dagnee- Author
Rating On: The First Noel
Rating: 5(highest)

dagnee Wrote

Xavier, you were so kind to review Sessions I thought I would return the favor.I liked your story but I thought Neill came off as a complete asshole.Is that the way you intended him to be? I liked the family stuff, the jokes, the way his children didn't get upset when they got an invoice, and how they responded with a contract to take care of him. The last joke was great. This was a good read, I enjoyed it. dags:)

My response to the review:

Thanks, for the review of The First Noel. I'm quite amused by it. This story has been very well reviewed by all who have read it, and your response to Neill was unique. Most reviewers including the two on this site have found the story to be heartwarming, and all the characters as well developed and sensitive (incl. Neill). The relationship between Neiil and Natalie was especially well received and sonny on this site put in the category with Jim and Della Young from O.Henry's Gift of the Magi, high praise indeed.

This story is based on actual events during three holiday seasons when my daughters were were young.I am Neill!But, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again.

Is that funny or am I the only one!

The humor isn't the only reason I posted this. Although with all the reads and few comments, I guess my sense of comedy is different than most.

The nuance of the comments made by dagnee indicate something about Neill as a character specifically, and character development generally. To be an asshole a character must be believable. The first quality of a believable character is consistency, consistency in how they respond to others and different situations. When a character is believable and consistent, and there is enough background to help a reader understand how they got to be the way they are, then they become three dimensional.

These are the most important elements of making a character memorable. Other elements such as an unusual name, quirky physical traits and mannerisms can help in making them memeorable. The real lesson is that It isn't necessary for a protagonist in a story to be likable, only believable, three dimensional, and memorable. The fact that dagnee liked the story is the evidence of that.


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