Tag Archive - writing tips

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…

Ordinary Characters Can Be Extraordinary

We’ve been going deep into character these last weeks, and I want to offer you some more ideas for developing complex, riveting characters. We hear things like “Your characters need to be larger than life,” meaning they should be extraordinary (extra ordinary? A whole lot more ordinary than the next guy? Sorry, that word got me thinking about how counterintuitive it is!). Okay, I get that to a point. To me, that means they need to be complex, unique,  passionate about something.

But I would like to say you can have ordinary characters that are ordinary people, but what makes them engaging and believable is their complex issues that drive them. For we all have them. You could say we are all both ordinary and extraordinary people.

If I’m presented one way, I can seem very dull, boring, average. But if I’m presented another way, I can become compelling, fascinating, deep. It’s all in the presentation. And in tightly developing and understanding those three essential aspects I spoke of in the last post: knowing the character’s core need, their deepest fear, and the lie they tell themselves because of the wound they suffered early on. Continue Reading…

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