It's a Writer Thing

RSS

Posts tagged with "characters"

how do you write a brutally honest character? Or write a situation where you might be able to show this side of their personality?

Anonymous

thewritingcafe:

There are two types of honest people. There are honest people who tell it like it is, whether their comment is welcome or not, and there are honest people who stay true to their word and who don’t lie, cheat, or sneak around. Both types can share traits:

  • Rude: Sometimes, an honest person can be rude when they point out truths. They may or may not realize that they are being rude. If they realize it, they might not care. If they do realize it, they might be reluctant to point it out or they might apologize for doing so. This is a flaw of being honest. It can cause conflict with other characters or it can reveal information that other characters wanted to keep quiet. Other times, people are honest because they like being rude.
  • Playing Fair: Honest people who “play by the rules” will reveal when a person is cheating (even themselves) because it’s part of their moral code. This can also be a flaw and it can result in an antagonist winning. They might have a chance to get out of a situation through stealing something that can help, but it goes against their moral code and therefore will result in internal conflict if they take it.
  • Outspoken: Some honest people will be outspoken or will seem outspoken if they’re the ones who stand up and give the truth that no one else wants to say.
  • Trustworthy: People who are honest can be trusted to tell the truth. This can be both a good and bad trait. They might give away someone’s secret if they feel it’s right to tell the truth about what happened.
  • Unbiased: Honest people have the ability to be more unbiased and objective than other people. They can look at both sides of a situation fairly.
  • Social Skills: The “tell it like it is” honest type can have trouble with social skills. They might not realize that some things are better left unsaid and therefore will turn others away through their honesty.

For some examples of these characters, look at the TV Tropes page.

There are tons of situations that you can show this and it should be present in more than just a few situations if it’s a major trait of a character. Showing their honesty can happen anywhere at any time, but it’s also dependent on your character and the story itself.

5 Common Story Problems with Simple Fixes

fictionwritingtips:

Our stories are often plagued with these common story problems, but if we don’t know how to fix them, we’ll never improve our writing. It’s important that you remember you don’t need to scrap your novel if you keep having the same issues over and over again. Hopefully this list will help you pinpoint what’s going on and provide ways for you to improve your novel.

Problem: Unmotivated Characters

If you’re having trouble figuring out where your story should go next, the problem could be with unmotivated characters. Characters aren’t in your novel just so you can push them around every once in a while and make them do things. They need to develop over time and keep your story going in the right direction.

Solution:

Work on your character’s wants, goals, and motivations. You need to figure out what’s driving your character if you want them to do anything. Where do they want to end up? What’s standing in their way? What’s their plan? Who will help them? Think about everything your character will need to do to resolve your novel. Focus on what they want and what motivates their actions and your characters will stop being dull and lifeless.

Problem: Boring First Chapters

A boring first chapter is dangerous because you want to captivate your audience right away. You don’t want to lose readers just because of this, but sometimes it happens.  You should give enough information to keep your readers interested, while also keeping them intrigued enough to figure out what happens next.

Solution:

Putting emotion into your scenes from the beginning will not only help set the tone, but we’ll get an immediate understanding of your world. The best advice I can give is to construct a scene that helps us best understand your character. If they’re on the run, show us that they’re being chased. If they’re sad and lonely, construct a scene that lets us feel their isolation. You don’t necessarily need to open your book with action, but you do need to introduce the conflict. Think about what your character wants and go from there. Think of your first chapter as an introduction to an essay. You don’t go right into the points immediately, but you set us up for something good.

Problem: Plot Holes

Writers worry about forgetting to include important information in their novel that’s necessary to the plot. If you’re discovering that readers often point out plot holes in your story, maybe it’s time to reevaluate how you plan your novel.

Solution:

Pre-planning or prewriting your novel often solves any plot hole problems. If you take the time to write out important scenes so you don’t forget them, your story will become stronger. However, if you’re not someone who likes to do so much planning, you can tackle plot holes during the editing phase. Take notes when you’re editing so that you can catch these plot holes and figure out where you can add necessary information. A plot hole does not always mean your novel needs loads of reworking, but it is something you need to take the time to fill in.

Problem: Poor Pacing

Poor pacing can ruin a novel, but luckily it’s something you can tackle head on before you even start writing your story. Good pacing helps add tension to your novel and helps you make sure there’s enough rising and falling action to keep your story interesting.

Solution:

Planning out your novel ahead of time also helps solve pacing problems. You can create a timeline that helps you keep track and plan out when you want certain things to happen. Read up on story arcs and try to plan out your scenes accordingly. If you’re already done with your novel and you notice poor pacing, try rearranging scenes or spreading out the action.

Problem: Info-Dumping

A very common writing problem is info-dumping. This is when you tell your readers loads of information at a time without showing them anything important. Info-dumps usually occur in first chapters of novels, but they can happen anytime during the course of your story. Info- dumps can drag down your story and bore your readers.

Solution:

Cut out long paragraphs where you explain what’s going on in your novel and show your readers instead. Avoid over explaining things that can be explained through action. Letting your audience figure things out instead is a much more satisfying reading experience and it lets your readers connect with your characters on a deeper level.

-Kris Noel

8 Character Roles

writingbox:

Protagonist: the central character tied into the main storyline. Their goals fuel the action and their own personal journey.

Antagonist: the character whose goals directly oppose those of the protagonist. They are not necessarily an ‘evil’ character or ‘the baddie’, but their journey towards their own goals blocks the protagonist’s journey.

Mentor: the mentor voices or represents the lesson that must be learned by the protagonist in order to change for the better and achieve their goal.

Tempter: the antagonist’s right-hand. The tempter doesn’t necessarily know the antagonist, but they both share the role of stopping the protagonist from achieving their goal. The tempter tries to convince the protagonist to ‘change sides’, but may end up changing sides themself.

Sidekick: the protagonist’s unconditionally loving friend. This character may become frustrated or suffer doubt, but always stands by the protagonist in the end. Typically, the sidekick embodies the theme without even realizing it.

Skeptic: the skeptic does not believe in the theme or the protagonist’s goal. They have no loyalties, and are simply following their own path.

Emotional: this character acts impulsively, letting their emotions fuel their decisions. Sometimes this works to their advantage, sometimes it is their downfall.

Logical: the rational thinker who always plans and reasons the best course of action. Again, sometimes this works to their advantage, sometimes it is their downfall.

Playing a Werewolf

greenrangerph:

For the sake of role play, certain canons will probably be established by the admin since various facets of the lore differ depending on the source.  Whether or not it’s transferable, who can transfer it, and whether more wolves can be bred are a few of the things that should be specified.  There is a lot of creative license here considering werewolves don’t actually exist.  The widespread practice, though, is that werewolf behavior is largely based on canine behavior.  Makes sense if you think about it.

were·wolf

noun \ˈwir-ˌwlf, ˈwer-, ˈwər-\
plural were·wolves
: a person transformed into a wolf or capable of assuming a wolf’s form

Origin of 

Middle English, from Old English werwulf (akin to Old High German werwolf werewolf), from wer man + wulf wolf — more at virile, wolf
First Known Use: before 12th century

In European folklore, a man who changes into a wolf at night and devours animals, people, or corpses, returning to human form by day. Some werewolves are thought to change shape at will; others, who inherited the condition or acquired it by being bitten by a werewolf, are transformed involuntarily under the influence of a full moon. Belief in werewolves is found throughout the world and was especially common in 16th-century France. Humans who believe they are wolves suffer from a mental disorder called lycanthropy. (- Merriam Webster Online)

  • Hierarchy: It is generally taken that werewolf hierarchy would mirror that of a wolf pack.  The only difference being that werewolves spend time as a human.  Leaders are Alphas.  The part that can be contested based on canon is the Beta and the Omega.  In Laurell K Hamilton lore the Beta is the Alpha’s mate who has the same power over the pack and reports only to the alpha.  While, in wolf behavior the Beta is second in command and the one who takes over the pack should something happen to the Alpha.  Omegas in Patricia Briggs lore is a special yet rare breed of werewolf who does not sit in the dominance/submissive struggle.  They are neutral.  This is more a reflection on the Omega placement in actual wolf packs.  Omegas can also be seen as lone wolves.  They have no pack whether it be by choice or by exile.
  • Power: In canine behavior everything is about your place within the structure.  This is tested by dominance and strength.  In Laurell K Hamilton portrayal of hierarchy dominant wolves are at the top of the ladder while the submissive are at the bottom.  Females share their mate’s spot on the ladder whether or not their dominance can handle it.  Keep in mind that it is also portrayed that dominants and the submissive balance each other out.  Dominants are often overbearing and protective over those submissive to them while submissive are often calm and quiet.  Changes in power, most notably Alpha, usually come by challenge or death.  A challenge doesn’t necessarily have to lead to death.  it’s simply a demonstration of power.
  • Family: It is said that wolves take mates for life, though that is not always the case.  Due to the human element in werewolves this can be extremely open ended and up to the player and or admin.  The result of werwolf mates can also be up to the player and or admin.  In some instances werewolves are incapable of bearing children due to the violent nature of shifting.  In this case, more wolves are brought to the pack with bites.  Sometimes only the Alpha can turn another and other times it’s an ability any wolf can perform.  In other instances, perhaps only a human woman is capable of bearing a werewolf through the father.  Or, it’s not an issue for a female werewolf at all.    
  • Shifting:  The timing of shifts varies depending on lore.  Some wolves can only turn during the full moon.  In other cases, shifting is a matter of control.  Older, stronger wolves can shift whenever they choose.  This would mean a time of struggle with the shift.  Younger or newer wolves would probably endure a longer and more painful shift.  In other lore, shifting isn’t even an issue.  it can be done wherever and whenever.  This should be taken into consideration when writing lore for your story as it can limit what your character may be able to do.
  • Senses & Lifespan: Werewolves are usually seen as physically superior to humans with enhanced senses and strength.  Often it is written that werewolves also have an accelerated ability to heal.  The extent of these should be taken into consideration when writing lore for your characters or story.  With the healing ability it is also widely seen that werewolves have an extended lifespan in comparison to humans.  In a more supernatural setting your werewolf could even be immortal.  Although, take into consideration that most lore will cite silver as an effective way of wounding or even killing a werewolf.

Further Reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werewolf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_wolf
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/w/werewolf.html
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/639825/werewolf
http://alam25.tripod.com/ (Usually, I am wary of posting free sites but there is a listed reference page)

http://www.runningwiththewolves.org/Behavior1.htm
http://www.wolfsa.org.za/content_behaviour.htm
http://rift.wikidot.com/wolf-behaviour

When characters suddenly seem like completely different people

itsonlythefirstdraft:

…and it’s not planned:
image

Apr 5

Hi. I'm a teenaged writer who has finished her first (decent) novel quite a few months ago, and i alternate between for-fun projects that I never finish and rewriting my finished novel. What i'm wondering is this- is it considered taboo to have the climax of a book be a suicide attempt? The girl is driven into a depression very slowly through the book by an abusive father and a mother whose actions reinforce her insecurities about herself. I worry sometimes that it's taboo or jumping the shark.

Anonymous

First of all, congratulations! It’s great that you’ve completed a full novel, well done!

Now on to the question. Write for yourself! If it fits the story and makes sense for the character, then do it. Jumping the Shark would be to only add it for the sake of ‘shock and awe’, but if you’ve planned this out and feel comfortable with it, then go with your instincts. You’re the writer.

It may be taboo and it may offend a few people, but hasn’t writing always done that? It’s often been the daring books that are most beloved, and I wouldn’t let a bit of taboo hold you back. Just make sure your book applied to this one rule: Don’t add anything unless it advances and works for the Plot, Characters, and Setting. If your protagonist attempting suicide works for her as a character and is important to the plot, then go for it, by all means!

Enjoy your rewriting!

Apr 5

How would one go about revealing information to the reader about a character that doesn't know it about themselves? So for example, my character is half Mexican half Italian. However, she's not aware of this because both of her parents are dead and she doesn't really know any of her other family. She just knows she's mixed. How would I convey this to the readers? I feel like just describing her skin tone isn't enough. Any ideas? Thanks.

Anonymous

It depends on how important it is. If this is crucial to the plot, then maybe she can search deeper into the origins of her parents and discover it? Maybe she’ll learn it from someone else who knows her past? Maybe she takes a DNA test?

If it’s not that important and is just a fun fact, then I wouldn’t worry too much about including it. The readers should be able to visualize the character, so simply mentioning the skin tone should be enough. If she doesn’t know and it’s not important enough to her to find out, then it isn’t to the reader either.

The writer will often know much more about the character than the reader. It’s good to know these things, and maybe they will become important. But until they do, just plan on it being a fun fact you reveal in interviews.

Happy writing!

4 simple steps to a believable cast.

rhymingslang:

At the heart of every novel, short story or fanfiction are the characters. Whether they be good guys, bad guys, major, minor, based on real people, works of fiction, background, foreground or anything in between- your characters make up your writing and knowing them, inside and out, is the key to making them believable. 

1. Looks.

While it may seem obvious the look of your character is vital to how he, she or they are envisioned by the reader. If the character does not have a particular look in your mind then it will be ever more difficult for the reader to imagine them as being real people. Think about it, no matter how hard you try you cannot imagine a person without a face and that is exactly the principle we are putting into play here. 

I’m not saying you have to describe every single character in detail for the reader to get it, not at all. I’m saying YOU have to know how they look, every detail, right down to a little scar on their right hip or a mole on their…nevermind. This is also vital for knowing your character, inside and out, which will later help in their development. If you know the superficial details then it will become easier to know the deeper ones. 

However, when it comes down to it, these characters are, for all intents and purposes, real people and every person is flawed in some way. Nobody has flawless skin, flawless hair and a flawless body unless they have been Photoshopped and, unfortunately  you cannot Photoshop real life. (unless your piece is set in a time when real-life Photoshopping is a thing that can happen- in which case, you can). Try to bear this in mind when creating a character, everybody has insecurities and this includes the people you create.

Hint: If you’re finding it difficult then think of an actor who you would like to play your character were it a film, then try to describe them. This will aid in describing real people and may help the reader imagine them. 

2. Interests.

Everybody has interests and if you don’t then Tumblr is probably not the place for you. Whether it be writing, singing, dancing, fashion, gaming, reading, fitness, music, cheekbones with legs on the BBC, gardening, interior decorating, just lounging around in your pants watching RSPCA Animal rescue (cough cough) or anything in between, we all have something that occupies our time and the same goes for your characters. 

In order for your characters to even seem remotely real and believable they have to have things to do when they’re not saving the world/ wiping out humanity, just like any other normal person would. For example I know someone who’s novel features a Vampire who enjoys playing Tetris in his spare time. Interests make your character three dimensional  they make them real to you as well as the reader. If you can’t imagine a character in their spare time, or envision them living their day to day lives outside of the novel then the characters are not strong enough yet and need more work before they can be placed in the scenario of your choice. 

Once again, you don’t need to explain every iota of this to the reader, or even write much of it down. If its there, and you know its there, then not only will the reader pick up on that but it will be much easier to write the character into the story. 

Note: It is worth noting here that the character should have interests relevant to them. Its no use giving a character born in the underclass of society an interest in fine cuisine or a collection of rare gemstones, interests should come with the character and time, age and social status should be noted when writing. 

3. Motives. 

Why did the chicken cross the road? 

Lets face it: the answer is never to ‘just get to the other side’ and if it is then that is a really badly written chicken. Why does he want to get to the other side? whats over there for him? why does this chicken even grasp the concept of roads? 

Okay, so that may seem a bit of a stupid time to have an existential crisis over a chicken but my point still stands: Nobody ever just does things for no reason and the same goes for your characters. In order to make them believable then you need to know why they are doing what they are doing? Why is your protagonist the one to step up and defeat the villain? Are they getting paid, or just the only one brave enough? Are they trying to impress someone, or just rise above what they have been labelled as? Is your antagonist trying to blow up the world for fun or do they believe in a greater good? Do they just not like your protagonist and would much rather see his head on a spike in their front lawn? 

These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you write your characters into the plot of your story. Why are they doing what they are doing and what are they getting out of it? If a character has no motivation then they will fall flat and confuse the readers. Out of everything so far the motive of the character is the only one I advise you completely narrate throughout the story. Maybe not all at once, maybe not clearly but at least leave clues and hints as to why, let your readers have to turn back pages and go ‘OH, SO THAT’S WHY THEY DID THAT’ and help yourself feel like a cryptic genius. 

Note: If they are completely insane and just doing what they are doing for a laugh this still counts a motive. They may not see sense or reason but ‘doing it for fun’ is still a motive for doing something and it should still be documented that this is their reasoning. 

4. Other little bits and bobs. 

As we all know, real people are not built up solely on looks, interests and motives or else science would be well on their way to getting me that robot butler, but its these three things which are the core of any believable character. 

These are the roots to making them seem real but there are other things you need to consider to make them live and breathe as you write them. As writing down every single detail would take forever and make this post go on forever, I have decided to give you a checklist of questions to answer when writing your character (Not all of these will apply to your writing so just answer the ones that do). These are just a few, feel free to add your own and go into as much detail as you want: the more detailed the character the more deep the character.

  • Where do your characters work when they’re not saving the world/ destroying it? Whats their main source of income? Why do they work there? Do they enjoy it? Why?
  • Where do your characters live? Is it a nice neighborhood or a run down apartment? Why? 
  • What are the names of your characters parents? (Remember, these are real people too with lives they have lived, remember that while writing them) Why did they give your character the name they have? 
  • If your character was not born to mortal parents, how did they come about? Where did they come from? What is their purpose?
  • If your character has a mythical ailment (eg. Vampirism, Lycanothropy) how did they get it? Who turned them? How old are they? How have they adjusted to life? 
  • Where do your characters come from? Do they still live there? Why did they move?/ Why did they stay?
  • Does your character dye their hair? Why? Where do they get the dye from? How do they afford it? 
  • Where is your characters favourite place to go? Why? 
  • How many relationships has your character had? Why did they end? Do they miss them? 
  • Is your character allergic to anything? How have they coped if they are? How severe is the allergy? 

Remember, these are just basic questions to help you round off your character. I hope this helps you create a cast both you and your readers fall in love with. 

Love, 

-L. 

Thinking Thespian and Writing Characters

thepenspointofview:

anonymous asked: Hello! Do you guys do character help as well? I have a few characters who are into musical theatre, how do you think this could affect their behaviors and attitudes? ;*

We do indeed. The Pen’s Point of View is a general writing help blog meant to answer any writing-related question you may have. In the case we can’t properly answer your question, we will give you the resources that will help you. 

As for your character question, keep in mind that someone’s interests doesn’t make the character’s personality, but can have some influence on who they are. Below are some things to do or think about when it comes to developing your thespian characters:

1. Observe stereotypes but don’t always follow them. 

While it is true that young actors, singers, and other performers can act “snooty” or “pretentious” at times (based off of the stereotype, my observations, and my friend who goes to an art school’s observations) it is also true that they usually aren’t. Some performers can put up a front of confidence. Others are more confident. Sometimes, performers aren’t pretentious at all. If one of your characters likes to act in plays, think about their baseline personality, what they feel about themselves, and how they react to the crowd’s attention before assuming a certain mentality. Having your character justified in how they feel makes them seem more real. 

2. Think Thespian. 

Like any good fan, if your characters like musical theater, then they will know musical theater. Brush up on musicals and plays. Go beyond “Wicked” and “Les Miserables.” Ask a Broadway fan about Aaron Tviet. Watch clips from lesser known plays. Compare “Next to Normal” to “Rent.” Go see a musical from your local town. Go observe “the Newsies” fandom. Observe how your theater-loving friends or follows talk or discuss certain plays. Your characters may not be as eccentric as certain members of other fandoms, but more likely than not, they will be watching shows and paying great attention to details. 

 3. Think about their other interests. 

Keeping in mind one interest does no make an individual, think about what other things your character likes, and how that might affect their views and thoughts on the plays they see. For instance, if your character adores books, how will they feel about the musical “Les Miserables” or “Wicked?” Would their love of reading and loyalty of books affect their opinion of the musical, or are they devoted to the melodies and music more? Does one of your characters have a mental disorder, or know someone with some form of psychosis? Would that affect their feelings towards “Next to Normal?” These questions will reveal a ton about your characters, because you’ll get a better idea on how they react in certain situations and how they value their interests. That will make it easier to understand how they will behave or act.

4. Think about their friends. 

Chances are, if your thespian character is friends with people who don’t feel passionate about musical theater, your character won’t be screaming to them about “the feelings” they have. While there is a chance your character doesn’t care what others think, or have friends who are capable of being excited about something they don’t like, there is a greater chance that your character wouldn’t talk about Broadway all the time. Likewise, around people who do like musicals, your character will probably act a different way. 

5. What would a love of theater affect directly? 

Your characters’ love of theater may affect their dreams, and future plans. This can affect how they act in terms of preparation, or how other’s view them. For instance, your characters might be that student who uses Drama 1, 2, and 3  (or at least try out for Chorus) as their musical and art credits. They might wear clothes from different eras or go on about how they’re going “to be popular(!)” without being anything of the sort. They might get songs stuck in their head. They might have ridiculous inside jokes and call each other certain characters. They might dream of going to Julliard or some other prestigious acting school. They might be excited about reading Shakespeare. Just remember who your character is before delving into the details of obsession.

If anyone loves musicals, feel free to comment as a reference for the friendly anon! I love musicals and theater but don’t want to speak for everyone. 

-Ashley

Killing Your Main Character

fictionwritingtips:

Some main characters won’t make it through the course of your novel. It just happens sometimes and it might anger your readers, but that might just be the path of your story. So, how do you do it without completely disappointing everyone? How do you kill off your main character and keep your story intact? Keep these tips in mind if you’re attempting this type of plot device.

Make sure it fits in the story (tone). When killing off a super important character, you need to make sure it fits the tone of your story. Readers will be super thrown off if they think they’re reading something light-hearted and then all of a sudden everyone starts dying. That’s NOT what they signed up for. Don’t kill off your main character just because you don’t know what to do next. Don’t do it just to shock readers. The shock will wear off and your readers will realize your story is pretty empty. Your main characters death must be foreshadowed in some way. There must be a warning (it doesn’t have to be obvious, but there can be subtle signs). You need to make sure your story warrants such an intense loss.

 Avoid trivializing their death. You can’t just kill them off and then move on. The death needs to be a big moment, something that you work toward in your novel. You need to build tension and it needs to make sense. You don’t want your character to suddenly drop dead from tripping over a rock (it depends on your story, but you know what I mean). It should be a moment other characters are impacted by. Your main character’s death should mean something to other people in your novel.

Try not to base it on morals. We don’t need a morality lesson. Avoid making personal statements about your characters choices if they are not directly related to the plot of your novel. Readers don’t want to be preached to. We don’t need a “SEE THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ______!” statement. Their death should make sense within the world and plot of your novel.

Don’t add an easy out. If your character dies, avoid undoing it in an obnoxious way. Don’t make it a dream or add some unnecessary easy out. If you do this a lot, your readers will not take anything in your novel seriously. Nothing will have consequences. We need to feel like your characters are in danger for real if you want to create tension. Unless it’s part of your story in a significant way, they should stay dead.

There are many ways to plot your novel, so none of these tips are definite for every story. As long as things make sense within the world of your story and you don’t cheat your readers, you can do what you want. Make sure you develop the death of your main character so that it fits.

-Kris Noel

*Subscribe to my newsletter - Fiction Writing Tips Newsletter

Cause and Effect (and how it works with Character Limits)

freelancewriterbarbie:

Characterization is making a fictional person as believable as a real person. Real people are complex psychological creatures, and the key to psychology is there’s a reason for everything. This leads you, are a writer, to explore Cause and Effect, which is a simple concept and ties in deeply with Character Limits.

Your character can kill a person without moral issue. That is the Effect. They can do it because they were brutalized all their life and have come to disassociate themselves with other human beings. That is the Cause.

Now that you know the Cause, you can try to find out what other effects it will have on your story and character. They disassociate themselves with people. So does that mean they wouldn’t hold casual conversation with a random store clerk? Does that mean they have no close family ties?

If they’re actually quite personable, then that is an Effect outside of this particular Cause.

What causes them to still be social while not connecting to any actual human beings?

They have trained themselves to interact with others, even if it’s against their instincts.

There’s a Cause. It’s also an Effect.

Why have they done this?

They realize it’s suspicious to be so distant, and they don’t want to attract attention.

Both a Cause and Effect.

What caused them to realize this?

They saw someone else be persecuted for that behavior.

You keep following this path until you run out of Effects that need explained. Now that you have a small collection of Causes and Effects for this character, you can see how two different Causes and Effects can both mix and conflict. The Effect of both a personable and reserved character conflicts, but if you know the Causes, you can pick out the variations and differences in the Effects.

For your plot, it could be the difference between a silent killer who is straight-faced as they commit their acts and one who interacts and enjoys the act. You have to explore more Causes to decide which what result would be most appropriate for them. This makes a character richer, since real life people have conflicting characteristics that can co-exist.

Character Limits work very closely with Cause and Effect. In fact, Limits are often an Effect, and some Cause drove the character to create that Limit.

For example: You have a character that would resort to cannibalism if pushed to the wall. There’s a Limit. So imagine two characters are trapped out in the icy tundra and are starving to death, with no hope of rescue.

Would your character kill the other person themselves or wait for them to die?

They would kill the person themselves.

There’s a Limit, and it’s also an Effect. Now for the Cause. The Cause could be a multitude of reasons. Being raised to always do what it takes to survive? Having a brush with death that convinced them they didn’t want to die?

For their personality, the Effect and the Limits tell you about their character. They have a very strong survival instinct. They will live, even if they have to take drastic, regrettable measures. They value themselves over other people’s lives. Maybe only when pushed to those limits, but the limits are indeed a present line in the sand.

So when you’re writing that character, you can always know in the back of your head that they value their own life above others when pushed to their limits. There is a Cause that can result in a million Effects. This may provoke them to lashing out physically when threatened. It may mean they’ll say something sharp and cruel in return if directly attacked verbally. You know what they’re willing to die for, and that in itself is the greatest limit.

Once you know your character Limits, you can explore the Causes that lead to that Effect. The more Causes you know, the more depth you know of your character and that allows you to predict how they would react in any situation. Instead of knowing they dislike baths, figure out it’s because they nearly drowned once, and that gives them a fear of any large body of water. So when they go to the beach, you’ll have a good idea of how they’ll react and your character’s personality will seem consistent.

Writing is like an expedition in the dark. Don’t be afraid to feel around.  

Happy writing!

Writing Superheroes and Villains

thewritershelpers:

I wanted to ask about writing superheroes, how do you first go about balancing their powers out and finding equal villains for them to go against? -cluewhite

What a wonderful question! I’m really going to enjoy answering this one and hopefully our followers might be able to share their own opinions (hint hint). 

When creating a superhero there are a few things to consider:

  • What gives them their superpower (special spider, iron suit, the fact they are a god).
  • What their superpower is and its limitations. (All superheroes have limitations- think of Batman!).
  • What is their weakness. (Small knifes? Hahaha I made a funny.)
  • Who knows their weakness?
  • How does their personality contribute to their superhero status? Do they deserve to be a superhero?
  • Best question: Are they a superhero by choice?

These are just some questions I would consider to start developing this character. Superheroes are normal characters, they deserve the same amount of character development and they need to be rounded characters. You also need to really consider their motives. Are they driven by revenge? Or simply because they want to make a difference?

So your superhero can have any power they want, but it needs to have a limitation. If this character is unbeatable then there is no point in your story. Also, your reader will struggle to empathise with your character if they aren’t challenged and if there isn’t a struggle to succeed. 

So lets talk about villains! Now, what you need to think about to start with is why are they enemies? Is it because your superhero knows this character and wants to stop them? Is it because your superhero has suffered at this villains hands? Or does the superhero want to act for the good of the people? 

I’m going to mention some villains here so you can catch my drift a bit more.

  • Obediah Stane (Ironman) - knew Tony and was motivated by greed. Tony fought him because he felt like it was his fault, he had created this ‘monster’.
  • Lizard (The Amazing Spiderman)- Peter felt responsible for the Lizard thing as he had given him the formula. 
  • The Joker- (Batman) had no real motive, he just liked chaos. Batman fought him because it was the right thing to do, to save Gotham.
  • Loki (Thor and Avengers)- Loki was motivated for revenge. Thor fights him because he is his brother and he feels responsible for him.

You can see a trend here with comic book superheroes. The superhero is normally motivated to fight the villain because he knows him, feels partly responsible or less common he just wants to fight them. 

Of course this means nothing, you can do whatever you want with your superhero. But it is interesting to consider the relationship between these two central characters and how well they know the other. 

So, making them equal.

You don’t have to make them equal, not at all. A common trend seems to be that one party is the brawn and the other the brain. What I think is more interesting though is when both characters are equally brilliant. It then is more a battle of tactics to win.

To make an equal villain develop them like you did your superhero. Consider what makes them powerful, what gives them the power. Their own weaknesses and strengths. 

Give them both strengths and weaknesses and they should start to balance themselves out. Or they could just be equally as powerful and it is their personality that determines who wins. 

Writing about superheroes

How to write a great villain

How to make a scary villain 

I hope this has helped you! If not, hit us up again. (We don’t bite- much). Followers, as always feel free to chip in.

image

-S

writingprompts:

#795
what colors are you?

writingprompts:

#795

what colors are you?

Mar 8

Advice: Characters but No Setting, Plot, or Antagonist

writing-questions-answered:

Mar 7

hi I'm currently writing an outline for a series of four novels. what I'm struggling with is how to divide and share the information so the characters learn more as they go along. for example character back stories and revelations that keep the story moving. I don't know how to plan these and it's all getting very confusing! help?

Anonymous

thewritingcafe:

The first book in a series should stand alone unless you’re an established author with the promise of sales. Focus on the first book first. It should have its own plot with no cliffhangers, but still with the ability to carry on.

Write the first book like you’ll never get a chance with these characters again. Reveal only what you need to reveal in that book. Don’t put in back story that can be revealed in another book.

For each book, make a timeline of when important information is revealed and which characters know it. Or, you can break it down by scene or chapter. You should also keep track of details like injuries and any actions that will affect settings (like rearranging a room or setting an object somewhere that is not picked up again for a long time) or that may cause contradictions.

When choosing when to reveal information, answer these questions:

  • Is this information necessary for this plot/character/motive to make sense within this book? If no, save it for later.
  • Does this information only make sense if other information is revealed first? If yes, make sure the first bit of information is revealed in its entirety and that there are no plot holes between these pieces of information.
  • Which characters need to know this information and which characters cannot know this information? When revealing information that can only be known to certain characters, make sure you set up the scene that way. However, you’ll also need to make sure you put the scene itself in the right spot.
  • How does this information affect the plot? Certain scenes or plot points might only be able to happen before this information is revealed. Make sure revealing information doesn’t mess up your plot or cause inconsistencies.
  • How much detail are you giving? You don’t need to reveal every detail about a piece of information at one time. You can revisit this information and add more detail later on. Only put in what is necessary or what your character wants to or doesn’t want to share.

For tips on writing book series in general, go through the “book series” tag on the tags page. The back story tag might help too.