Tag Archive - characters

History as Mystery

We’ve gone over some nifty things about character in the last few weeks. Hopefully by now you have gotten a great glimpse into how to create a complex, driven character. If you missed the posts, take a look and read through them. I’d like to add some more insights about character development today and get you to think about history as mystery.

I mentioned how it’s not all that helpful (or interesting) to spend time creating the outward attributes of your character, for what really shapes a person is their history. I showed how by creating and exploring a character’s past hurt or wound you can determine the way she looks at herself and the world. When your character believes lies about herself and her world because of this hurt, she creates a persona that’s not her true self. And when someone is not their true self, they feel restless, unhappy, and lost. Which spurs them on their journey to find their essence. It’s the place she needs to get to, and her journey through the novel is not just aimed at her reaching her visible plot goal but also her spiritual goal of embracing her essence or who she truly is. Remember the sixties and how we were all about “finding” ourselves? This is the same thing but without the drugs. Continue Reading…

Character Arcs?

Okay, I confess. I’ve never quite understood the use of the word arc when talking about plot and character. I keep picturing a big boat in a very heavy rainstorm. But seriously, even the image of an arc (shaped like a rainbow–which brings us back to the other ark . . . hmm) confuses me. For if you are creating a character arc showing some sort of progression of a character’s inner growth through your novel as a bow that goes up and then comes down, it feels to me as if the character didn’t go anywhere. So I have trouble using that term. Continue Reading…

The Clash of Characters

In last weeks’ posts I talked about how you can take an ordinary character and make him fascinating by developing those three essential components to their personalities: their core need, their greatest fear, and the lie they tell themselves based on the wound they received early in life. I showed how my character Jake in my novel Intended for Harm was all about father issues, and that tied in with my main theme. I pretty much had that as a basic idea when I started planning. (You’ll notice I usually use the word planning as opposed to plotting and it’s not because I’m against plotting, but I want to de-emphasize that structuring and growing you novel is not all about plot. Plot is important, but a plot with no heart is just a plot.) Continue Reading…

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