Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More on Characters

**Flu update**
Much better today. No temp and am feeling almost normal. Can think again too. Thanks for your concerns.

Now to characters...

Three questions readers are going to ask about your story:
1. So what? (Why should I read this?)
2. Oh yeah? (I don't believe anyone would do that, or that was to convenient.)
3. Huh? (What the bleep is happening? Who's saying/doing that?)

All of these can cause the reader to choose another book. And we don't want that to happen.

Characters in scenes:
1. Who must be there?
2. Who might be there?
3. Who has been there?

Types of characters:
1. Major - these are the characters you want the reader to connect with The ones who's activities and desires/motives drive the story. The hero, heroine, antagonist, protagonist.

2. Minor - these are secondary characters. Friends of the major characters or possibly co-workers. They are part of the story but the story doesn't focus on them.

3. Walk-ons - these are your spear-carriers. Store clerks, the waitress and so on. They are in the background. Many times they don't even have a name.

Here's a couple questions to think about.
What's your character's motivation?
What is his or here goal and what will they do to reach it?
What will they not do, what are their limits?

The more you know about your characters, the better you can write them. The better you can show them to the reader and that means the better the reader will connect with them.

Oh...I've got to pull up some files from my old puter but I'll try to get that info out tomorrow...this weekend for sure.

And, on more personal note...the fall issue of Mysterical-e has a short story of mine in it called Up In Smoke. This was my first try at first person POV and written about a year ago. If you need a break, click on over and check it out.


  1. Awesome news on the short story. I'll try to wander out there today. Good to know you're feeling better.

    These character posts are really what I need because my poor writing suffers from lack of character development if I am creating new people.



  2. Congrats, Jean. If I have time I'll sneak on over and read it.

    I know for me personally creating good, well developed characters, is tough. What makes it challenging is you think you have a good understanding of them, know them fairly well, and then you pull at a character book. Suddenly we have to answer questions like what is their goal and motivation? And then, to push us even further we have to think about what it'd take for them to want the opposite of their goal.

    I think one important point to note is when you're talking about goals and motivations, this can change for the character as the plot progresses. They may start out with one goal in mind, but as the story unfolds and they're forced into the central conflict, their goal can reflect those new changes.

    When I was first trying to answer those questions I was stumped because halfway through the book, my character's focused changed. I simply didn't have a single goal answer - like I thought I was supposed to have.

    Does anyone remember the Goal, Motivation and Conflict book everyone is always referring too? It's time for me to add it to my collection.


  3. Don't ask me, writing craft books sit on my bookshelf lately. I have several but with reviewing other books I haven't had the time to really get into them. Bad author, bad author. :)

  4. Chrissy...

    You are so right...characters do change their wants as the story progresses. And that's one thing we often forget to take into consideration. How the character changes and grows through the story and how that growth/change shapes the wants/desires/goals.

    Also...while on the topic of wants/goals...each scene should have a goal. The character should want something...and it shouldn't always be easily achieved.:-)

    I remember the GMC book...I've thought about getting it several times but just haven't...yet.