What Character: A people first design.

Characters provide the foundation of good and memorable stories. They are relatable, if larger than life. They breathe into the story and they give the reader a reason to continue even if the plot is unexpected. I think the 1980-1990 version of a character where it is extremely constructed (thinking of television series here) as opposed to the late 90’s – early 2000’s reality tv shows where we lost a sense of dimensionality. Stories became about the bimbo and the stud. But there was no deeper meaning and less relatability. We wanted or craved stories that were unrealistic and impractical. Ah, disillusionment.  I think written works need to avoid making characters that are two-dimensional and without reality.

“The purpose of a character profile is twofold: to assist the writer in creating a character that is as lifelike as possible and to help with continuity issues in the story.” –The Lazy Scholar The Internet Writing Journal, June 1998

The most interesting advice I’ve seen is telling the writer to allow for the characters to fit within a cliché. But this cliché doesn’t last for long, because as soon as you add a personality or quirks, they become their own person and you begin to care about them. They become more important the more you get into their heads. You want to describe how they feel and what they are thinking, but you need to give them life.
Another tip that I found was to allow the character to live with knowing more about what they do and not what they like. (and characterization had some helpful links as well)

“We remember characters because they do interesting things. We forget characters whose favorite food is pizza.” – Joe Bunting

In addition to the above, I’m going to challenge myself to think about who my characters are by looking at three different points about them. Care of Michael Novak’s thoughts. This probably reflects more on Christian Theology, but I think it applies to writing and creating characters as well.
– Private Beliefs, what they think
– Public Beliefs, what they say (and mean in the moment)
– Core Beliefs, what they do

Wrap Up

  • Characters should reflect life
  • Characters will always be clichés, but should have a distinct personality
  • Characters have distinct personalities when they do interesting things
  • What characters do, defines them (more than what they think and more than what they say).

Plot: And avoiding my suck dragon

The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then queen died of grief is a plot.
E. M. Forster

I’ve been missing something. At first, I thought it was characters that drew the audience. Now I know I’ve been missing my ending and with it the plot. The main issue begin the fate of my main character or co-main character.

You just snuck up on me out of nowhere!

I would really like for it to tidy itself up near the end and not leave a giant hole, but I’m afraid if I do that it will feel to neat and sown up giving the reader a bow for making it to the end.

Although, I do not know if this is really the problem after all. I’m fearful that by finishing this I will not have new ideas, even though I know (or part of me does) it is not the case.

When I look back at endings that I remember of books or stories, some of them had neat endings but for other the characters were changed, left to dangle in this universe that they had surrounded themselves with. So I’ve done my research, if there’s one thing I’m good at it’s google searches.

I’ve found some articles to read for my broken plot issues to ease or remove my dragon (plot) of suck.

Because when James Van Der Beek cries the world does. He does not appreciate my suck dragon.

8 steps for making a better plot outline

This next one really gets into my negative editor but here it is any way with suggestions of the following:
Don’t keep any “next step” which doesn’t:
A. advance the plot
B. deepen characterization
C. end with a hook that incites reader to read on
D. come as a natural progression of what’s been foreshadowed earlier
E. contain conflict
F. move characters either closer to or farther from their goals
G. contain logical, believable, and motivation

Ideas for other plot issues

The snowflake method not advocating that you buy the software but the logic for the process seems interesting and efficient. I also liked the spreadsheet with scene descriptions because I thought for a while that I could write them all down on a sheet of paper, but it turns out I need about 100 scenes for a decent novel…

Not sure this helped me but I’ll keep looking for help, I know we went over plot in creative writing class but…I never a story to be this long or this interesting, it was all very brooding and sad. Does that mean I’m growing up? Nah, probably not.