Showing posts from October, 2013

Why you should back your characters into corners

As writers and creators, we love to see our characters win the day (well, most of the time), and it is very satisfying seeing the end result after weeks or months or even years of writing a novel. That’s because we start our characters on a path, we push them into an unknown journey and we play God with their lives – that’s the power at our fingertips. But writers shouldn’t be too kind to their characters. In fact, they should be mean to them. Why?   Because it makes for a better story.   Think about real life. It’s not all flowers, rose-tinted clouds and pretty rainbows. We face upheaval all the time; we face dilemmas, we have to make difficult decisions, we have to meet problems head on and solve them somehow. Ordinary life can be tough sometimes, and so it is true of your main characters.   In a sense, what happens in real life can merge with fictional life in order to create a sense of reality. Problems, dilemmas, stress and all manner of difficulties should form t

Suspending Disbelief for Readers – Part 2

After a much needed vacation in sunnier surrounds, it’s now back to business.   We’ll continue our look at how ways to suspend a reader’s disbelief and get them believing in your story and characters.   Writers can do this by focusing on several elements, so we’ll focus on the remaining pointers noted in Part 1 - Believable Character Goals, Immediacy, Eliminating Uncertainty, Subplots and the Right Setting. Believable Character Goals This is pretty self-explanatory. If your characters don’t have much to strive for and achieve by the end of the story, then why should a reader be bothered about what your characters do?   Your main character’s goal forms an important crux to the story arc. Their struggle to achieve that goal, and all the obstacles they face in doing so, is what keeps the reader invested in the outcome, so give the characters believable goals rather than outlandish ones, such as saving the world from imminent disaster (one of the worst clichés). Readers wil

Suspending Disbelief for Readers – Part 1

We’ve all heard about suspending belief, but where stories are concerned, what if you’ve written something that defies belief?   What if you have an outlandish plot and characters that can do amazing things or have brilliant skills (all without experience or the right training)? The truth is, every story requires the reader to suspend their disbelief and start believing totally in the story, whether that is a thriller story, a romance, a horror or a science fiction story.   A writer somehow has to make the unbelievable believable. But is it as easy as it sounds? One of the most common rejections from editors and publishers is that a story isn’t credible or plausible. The plot is ‘too far-fetched’, or the characters are simply not believable. This can be hard to digest, particularly when you see so many books on the shelves with ridiculous plot lines. It can be done, but this is all down to the ability of the writer to make the reader eventually suspend their disbelief a