Tag Archive - characters

The Importance of Creating a Rich History for Your Characters

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from popular past posts on Live Write Thrive.

From 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.

Create Some History

So, once you’ve established this key, pivotal element or incident (or series of incidents) that have made her who she is at the start of the story, you’ll want to create some more history. With that major task out of the way, the next step is giving your characters an entire life. This doesn’t mean you have to write or know every single second in their past. But you want to create enough of a past that they fill out. And the events and history you create need to be homogeneous with who they are now as well as fit in with your plot. Continue Reading…

7 Tips to Creating the Perfect Antihero

Today’s guest post is by Stephanie Norman:

An antihero is the central protagonist in a literary piece, movie, or comic book who lacks the conventional attributes of a hero. Unlike a traditional hero, he is characterized with aggressiveness, clumsiness, dishonesty, or other terrible habits that make him more flawed and distasteful. Nevertheless, he is still the hero of the story because his magnificent traits make him more appealing than loathsome.

Antiheroes are flawed, just as all people are. The light and the dark sides are in a never-ending battle, and their souls are the battlegrounds. Of course, the good in them has to win at some point. Otherwise we would simply call them villains.

A traditional literary hero is the perfect role model. He is brave, strong, and focused. This character always does the right thing, no matter how tempting the situation is. He is Odysseus, Cyrano de Bergerac, and the Little Prince.

Idealistic heroes rarely work for contemporary readers though. The modern heroic qualities are somewhat similar to the traditional ones, but they gravitate towards the dark side too. Readers want to see complex characters that don’t always do the right thing but are heroes nonetheless. Continue Reading…

Scene Structure: Understanding the Truth about Character Arcs

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive that tie in with our exploration on scene structure. Revealing the gradual transformation of a character from one scene to the next requires understand character arcs.

From The True Essence of Character:

 Persona vs. Essence

All of us are flawed. Over the years, since childhood, we have developed a “face” we present to the world. Often that face is formed by hurts we’ve suffered early on. We start out all innocent and sweet, and then after a few of life’s hard knocks, we hide behind a persona that feels safe. A true hero’s journey will show the process of the hero moving from his persona to his true essence by the end of the story. And this is a great model for novelists.

Almost all great stories show the protagonist at the start of the book in his normal world. This is the place in which he functions, interacts with others, and makes his way through life. But if you’re telling a rich story, there’s going to be something wrong with this picture. Even if this character seems happy, we can tell he’s really not. And it really doesn’t have to do with his visible goal established at the outset. Oh, they are interconnected, and the goal should be a vehicle for helping your character “find himself.” But reaching his visible goal isn’t the real thing that will make him truly happy. Every person who is not living in his or her true essence is going to be unhappy. Continue Reading…

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