Every Sunday, the feature SHANNON MUIR’S MYSTERY OF CHARACTER on SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF focuses on the art and craft of writing from Shannon’s perspective, or gives you insight on her process as an author.

This week features Shannon looking into the definition of the word “character”. 

The Merriam Webster dictionary online encapsulates just how difficult it is to define character. The word can be applied as a noun, adjective, or verb.

As a noun, it means things that distinguish people or things from one another. This can also deal with the nature of things or even the moral or ethical standards of people, or even reputation. The definition also distinguishes a fictional person as opposed to a real one. Lastly, it talks about letters or symbols which convey meaning.

Character as an adjective refers to being able to play a fictional person with specific qualities. The word applied as a verb is used to describe someone’s traits.

For these columns, the focus will be on the noun version of character, involving most of the definitions above, but as applied to fictional people (though observations of real people and events may influence this). I strongly felt that the word “character” and its scope for these columns needed to be defined as we move forward in coming weeks.

Until next week,



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