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Showing posts from March, 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Building Characters - Part 3

Last week looked at things like emotion, making characters relatable, giving them behaviours and traits and making them infallible. Each of these facets builds more of your characters; it brings them further into the reader’s imagination. But the one thing that brings characters to life is the similarity to real life people – that sense of realism. As previously touched on last week, emotions play a huge part in creating characterisation, and one of those emotions that span the distance between fiction and reality is the emotion of fear. Fears Any story that can tap into fear is one that will hook the reader from the first chapter to the last. Fear – real or imagined – affects all of us in different ways. Everyone knows what fear feels like, whether it’s fear of spiders, the dark, the fear of heights, snakes or other irrational phobias. That’s why horror stories work so well – they exploit those fears and make us face them. Those fears feel real.
It’s not just the irrational fears that we…

The Ultimate Guide to Building Characters - Part 2

Last week detailed character goals, motivations and the need to bring in their backstories to help build your characters and create detailed characterisation, but of course, there are many more elements required to create great, larger than life characters. Emotion The common denominator with any character’s motivation is emotion. Emotions affect our behaviour and they can often overwhelm us. What we feel can shape the way we act and react. So the same is true of your characters. All the things that have happened them, things in the past and present – childhood, growing up, different events and situations, incidents, important moments...they all involve emotion. All these emotions often manifest because of our past, which is why it’s important that your characters have a backstory. It’s these details that help the reader identify with that character. Each character will have different emotions, and the more emotion they have, the more immediacy you will create for the reader. Readers wan…

The Ultimate Guide to Building Characters - Part 1

Great stories need great characters. The people we choose to inhabit our fictional worlds help carry the story forward, but more importantly, they help to tell it. It is our main character’s story, and it is his or her situation that creates the entire fabric of the narrative. Our characters are the story. That’s why thorough characterisation is essential. But characterisation isn’t just about how they look, what colour hair and eyes they have or what their favourite food is. It’s much deeper than that. It’s all the things that are not obvious – not at first. It’s all the many facets that make characters multifaceted. Building characters – once you know what your characters are called and what they look like – requires a defined list of elements to not only bring them to life, but to help you tell their story. The aim of characterisation is to bring to life the characters whose story is being told – they need to feel real; they need to be believable and they need to feel connected to us…

Sequencing Events in Fiction Writing

Part of any story involves an unfolding story arc and a sequence of events that, ultimately, leads to the conclusion of the story.But how do writers put together that sequence of events that make a book so hard to put down? When we write our stories, we know that certain things that happen within the story will occur in a specific and logical order, and that each event will escalate from the previous one in order to build drama, conflict and tension, while at the same time bringing all the narrative plot threads, clues and subplots together. Within the first few chapters, there will be the catalyst, the inciting incident that kick starts the entire story. This establishes the main story plot, from which the other narrative threads follow – that which always drives the story forward, whichencompasses rising action, and more conflict and drama, before the climax of the story and where all those narrative threads are neatly tied up. Sequencing events within a story is an important plannin…