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Showing posts from July, 2010

Characterisation

Characters make your story possible. Writers draw readers in by using well-rounded, believable characters with depth and complexity and they are astute enough to spot mundane cardboard representations, or cartoon/stereotypical types.

Well-developed characters add an extra dimension to your story. Who they are and how they act are important. We’re all complex, we all have different personalities and outlooks and we’re all individual. Your characters should be no different.

The primary role of characters is to move your story forward through the use of dialogue and action, to realise motivation, enhance the plot and to engage the reader.

Of course, there’s more to giving your character a name, simple physical attributes, giving them and age range or creating a half-completed personality. Character traits tell the reader what sort of person your character really is. The more dimensions you add to your characters, the more engaging and real they become for your reader. You need to …
Themes & Conflict

The two main ingredients of any story.

I’ve linked theme and conflict together because they work alongside each other in a story.

Theme should not to be confused with plot. Theme is a secondary writing device used by writers to accompany plot and shore up the conflicts you have in your story, and the underlying theme itself should be source of conflict. It’s the subject matter for your story.

Love, hate, redemption, religion, hope, betrayal…all these themes provoke conflict. And with conflict, you also elicit emotions from your reader. Conflict and emotion is closely linked too, and a story without either of these is unlikely to move your reader, except to bore them to sleep.

Think of the historic struggle between black and white people; racism is an emotive theme and a rich source of conflict. “Roots” by Alex Haley is a perfect example of this conflict as black African slave Kunta Kinte strives for freedom from his white American oppressors.

Theme is the heart of th…