Tag Archive - characters

Why Your Protagonist  Should Have a Past “Wound”

Last week I introduce the idea that writers need to know some important things about their protagonist before starting to write their scenes. Some writers hardly develop their characters at all, and it shows. Their scenes are populated with stereotypes that have no depth or uniqueness.

Conversely, spending hours or weeks penning long descriptions of characters’ physical attributes, food preferences, or general likes and dislikes won’t ensure memorable characters will result.

The first thing—which we looked at in last week’s post—that’s essential to consider about your protagonist is his motivation. And this attribute, like all the others we’re going to look at in this series of posts, points to your premise. And that premise centers on the protagonist’s goal.

So, if everything you consider about your characters orbits around the premise and the goal, you’ll be on your way to crafting great characters. Continue Reading…

The First Thing You Should Know about Your Protagonist before You Start Writing

Most fiction writers know that character is at the heart of a story. Whether you are writing short or long fiction, you need terrific characters.

But what’s in a character? And how much do you need to know about your characters before you start writing?

The depth of detail you develop for your characters may vary. It stands to reason that you aren’t going to put as much work into crafting minor characters as you would major ones. And the most important character—your protagonist—should have the most depth.

How deep should you go? That’s a good question. Some writers spend months working on a character: her looks, her history, her family, her issues. But often the details a writer works up are trivial details. Continue Reading…

Developing a Strong Novel Concept Starting with an Archetype

We’ve been starting to explore archetypes on Monday’s section on novel writing. I talked about some of the basic archetypes a writer might borrow from when developing characters, and I gave a series of questions you might ask of your character, to start identifying qualities that might tend to a particular type.

You might wonder if you have to stick closely to the standard archetype or if you can mix it up. Sure, characters can have bits of one or another. But the aim here is to identify those dominating markers and to choose archetypes that best serve your plot.

Starting Novels with a Character Type

Some writers begin their novel-brainstorming process based on a character type. When I put together my 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction Workbook, I decided to take a random idea and build it into a solid concept, fleshing it out through the workbook as an example, to help writers along with the process. Continue Reading…

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