Saturday, September 27, 2014

12 Steps to Really Knowing Your Characters

In my previous post, I presented a series of questions to help think about your character-driven novel as a whole. The intent of this was to make you consider what you want your readers to feel and what you expect a novel to do. It also got you to think of your main character in terms that would help her to push the plot along, rather than depending on outside forces to move through the story.

Now I'm going to ask you to contemplate who your all characters are in greater depth. Even though we often spend a lot of time inside our protagonists and imagining them in great detail, sometimes we think about other characters within a limited context of the story. If you go to a critique group, you might be asked why character X lies to the protagonist. Your answer is probably about his motivation.

Well, if you're really writing a character based novel, simple motivations aren't enough.
Add depth to your novel by shedding light on the complexities of your secondary characters.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

3 Steps Before Starting the Novel

Back in June, I began to talk about where the idea for a novel comes from and how understanding your main character helps develop plot. 

I stand by this. 

Your novel starts with a compelling protagonist. The character doesn't need to be entirely sympathetic, but somebody who we can see humanity in, someone we can feel. And they must have a goal and a desire. (Note that I used and there—not or—I'll get there, eventually.)

I am also a proponent for writing several scenes until you develop an understanding for your character. This makes writing sound magical, though.

Writing is not magic.