Tag Archive - characters

Asking “Why?” to Create Rich Characters for Your Novel

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at an excerpt from a previous post titled Why, Why, Why?

I do a lot of manuscript critiques. Hundreds a year. I find the best way to get writers thinking about their plot and characters is to ask a lot of questions. And since I’m a novelist who loves deep, rich characters, I like to challenge my editing clients to push past the ordinary and into the realm of the complex.

For, people are complex. Humans are complicated. They really are. Maybe someone will disagree with me and claim the opposite. That people are simple, easy to figure out.

Well, I’m guessing those who really believe that will probably portray boring, flat characters in their fiction.

I’m hoping, though, that you want to create characters that are complex and sometimes unpredictable who have countless facets to their personalities and seeming contradictions. Why? Because real people are like that, and we writers are supposed to be encapsulating real life in our novels. (Unless you’re deliberately trying not to for some reason). Continue Reading…

12 Questions to Ask Your Character about the Setting She Is In

On Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive

Today’s post is from Settings in Your Novel That Work As Triggers:

When choosing settings for your scenes, you want to think about the kinds of places that will allow the emotions, needs, dreams, and fears of your characters to come out.

Certain places will trigger these things to come to the surface and will stir memories. Your character has a past, and even if she never visits any of the places in her past in your novel, other places can draw out feelings and memories. This happens to us all the time.

Of course, if you are putting your characters in places they’ve been before, or they are living in the same town their whole life, those memories and feelings are closer to the surface.

The point it, you want to use your setting to help bring out your themes, drive your plot, and reveal character. You don’t have to do this, but by ignoring setting you are missing out on a great tool in your writer’s toolbox that you can use in a powerful way. Continue Reading…

How Writers Can Develop Emotional Connections between Reader and Hero

Today’s guest post is by Patrick Cole: 

When I first met Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, I was in high school and certainly not yet “fully baked.” In fact, my major emotional connection to the novel was not with Sydney Carton but with Lucy and Charles. They were so in love, and I just wanted there to be a romantic happy ending for them. Dickens did not disappoint me.

Of course, since that time, I have reread this novel two more times—once in college for an English Lit. class and once more because there is much to learn from Dickens’s writing.

To me, now that I am closer to coming out of the oven, Carton as a redemptive figure is one of the best in literature. And while many fiction writers do not have “Christlike” characters in their novels, the methods used by Dickens to establish that emotional connection are timeless and universal. Here are things I have learned that you can learn too. Continue Reading…

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