Showing posts from October, 2016

The Problem with Conveying Emotion

It’s an element that all writers need, but they are not always good at showing the reader. The problem with emotion is that sometimes, it’s just difficult and awkward to get right. The aim for any writer is to move the reader, so that they read a particularly moving scene and feel the emotion behind it and they may feel a tug at the heart, or even feel like crying. Perhaps they read a terrifying scene and it affects them with fear or apprehension. Or there might be a heart-warming, happy scene that simply makes the reader smile. Getting the reader to react to what the main character is feeling is no mean feat. The most common problem with trying to convey emotion occurs when writers sometimes make the mistake of telling the reader the emotion they should feel, for example ‘John was sad’ or ‘John was angry.’ While this may seem logical to write, it doesn’t convey any feeling; it doesn’t mean anything to the reader. For emotion to work, the reader has to feel it or be affe

Character or Plot-driven Stories?

Many writers may not be aware that there are choices when it comes to how they approach their stories, and not many writers stop to think what kind of story they’re telling. There are, however, two types of story that are often referred to: Plot-driven and Character-driven, and they each serve the story differently. Most commercial fiction is plot-driven. In other words, the plot and the unfolding events linked to it drive the story forward. The characters revolve around that plot, rather than a secondary plot revolving around the characters. In character-driven stories, the opposite is true. The unfolding story revolves entirely around the characters and the plot takes a back seat in terms of importance. But which one should you use? That depends entirely what you want from your story and the genre you choose. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, so it’s important to not only choose the right one for your story, but to know it’s the right one and that it will f

The Importance of Motivation – What drives your characters? Part 2

Part 1 looked at some of the reasons that might motivate our characters, things like backstory and emotional responses like revenge, resentment or love etc. But it’s not all down to those common emotional catalysts. There are other factors that help create motivation for your characters, for instance: Basic Need This isn’t an emotion, but rather a human requirement, but it’s still a driving force for motivation. It’s the need to do something, to find something or to achieve something. It could be a need to get to the bottom of something, the need to find ourselves, the need to feel happy, the need to settle down and have a family...all these needs are motivation markers that are inherent in all characters. It’s the simple things that writers miss, and basic needs are often overlooked. Past Incidents & Events The things that happen in our lives can have a positive or negative affect on us. Some incidents can scar us not just physically, but psychologically. They stay