This lecture provides an overview of character. We'll examine great first lines featuring unique characters in a specific situation. We'll talk about why characters are the linchpin of great fiction, and why the first thing you need to know about your story is who the protagonist is.
A short story requires a particular character in a specific moment in time.
Note the opening sentence from The Looking Glass, by Anton Chekhov, which cuts to the heart of the character and situation.
New Year’s Eve. Nellie, the daughter of a landowner and general, a young and pretty girl, dreaming day and night of being married, was sitting in her room, gazing with exhausted, half-closed eyes into the looking-glass. She was pale, tense, and as motionless as the looking-glass.
Stories mentioned in this video:
"The Elephant," by Slawomir Mrozek, from Sudden Fiction International
"The Best of Everything," by Richard Yates, from Eleven Kinds of Loneliness
"Seventy-Two Letters," by Ted Chiang, from Stories of Your Life
How I Came to Know Fish (novel), by Ota Oavel