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Showing posts from September, 2014

How Do You Create Character Motives?

Motivation is a fundamental part of writing. It’s what makes us all tick; therefore, it also makes all your characters tick.What they do and why they do it is what drives the story forward to its conclusion.And the driver is always motivation. Motives push us to act in certain ways, to get what we want, to achieve certain goals. Your characters are no different. But how does a writer create the motives that make their characters behave in ways that help push the story forward?How do you create those character motives? How do they come to be? Character motives come from various sources within the scope of the story. It isn’t just about the character wanting something and doing it. It depends on several other factors, too, but they all create character motives:- The main character’s goal. The storyline – primarily what the story is about The characters involved The obstacles created to thwart the main character The main character’sbackstory The story line will have a bearing on motivation becaus…

How to Use Interior Thoughts – Part 2

In part 1, we looked at how writers could engage the reader by using interior thoughts and how they help the reader to connect with your characters on a deeper level. But how should a writer convey those internal thoughts? It’s a question every writer asks, and there seems to be a lot of conflicting advice. And because it’s fiction writing, there is nothing really set in stone, other than common sense and guidelines. Should you use Italics or underlines? What about capitals? What about quotation marks? There are no hard and fast rules – just accepted conventions and guidelines. The idea with interior monologue is that it is not actual dialogue, so let’s discount the use of quotations straight away. It’s important to remember that interior thoughts have to stand out against the rest of the dialogue and narrative, so that the reader is immediately aware of the difference and recognises that your character is thinking to him or herself. It is a visual signal. If you use quotations marks, the…

How to Use Interior Thoughts – Part 1

Whenever a character has any thoughts, whenever they think to themselves, or they talk to themselves during the story, it’s generally known as interior thought or monologue, or interior dialogue. What it really means is that the reader is allowed into the character’s feelings to directly share his or her point of view, by using the character’s direct thoughts. This device allows the writer to show what the main character is thinking or feeling, without the need to engage in conversation with other characters. It’s a good way to show what the character’s emotions and mood, strictly from their point of view. It allows the reader to become party to those thoughts, while other characters will be completely unaware of the main character’s inner feelings. The benefits of Using Interior Thoughts There are great advantages to including interior thoughts in your narrative. One of the main reasons is that it helps the reader gain an understanding of what the main character is feeling, it brings a…

How many characters in a story are too many?

I get asked about this a lot, in fact all the time. The answer to the question depends on what kind of story you are writing, whether it’s a short story or a novel. Short stories have fewer characters because in a 1000 – 10,000 word story there isn’t room to have that many characters; it simply doesn’t work. And short stories always work very well with as few characters as possible. Novels – being full length – have the scope to cope with a larger cast. There is room to explore them properly, with main characters getting full characterisation and backstory, therefore giving them complexity and depth. So how many characters do you really need? In essence, there are only two characters that any story needs – the Protagonist and the Antagonist. All other characters are secondary or peripheral. They will either be relatable or connected to the protagonist or the antagonist in some way. They are there to enhance the plot and the main characters and to help drive the story forward. If they do…