Tag Archives: characters

The Power of Contrast

Stacey Kite

As writers, we’re all aware of the importance of conflict, plot, character and voice, but I want to talk about another element that can ratchet up the intensity of a story: contrast.

In painting, contrast is an essential tool for adding punch and drama. Painters use dark and dull complementary colors to make the bright touches sing, and light to give the darkness depth. The same principle applies to stories. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 6-21-17

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Books need characters, but too many can confuse your reader and detract from the story. With that in mind, take a look at your secondary characters and ask yourself whether each is really necessary for the plot. Eliminate those that aren’t essential. If you have several minor characters that each play tiny, but crucial roles, try combing them into one character to streamline your story.

Practical Prompt 5-31-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Making things bad for your character is good, but adversity that doesn’t push the plot can exhaust—and then bore—your reader. Look over the bad breaks you’ve given your characters and make sure that each is necessary and drives them further along in the story. Cut any that don’t move the plot.

What Constitutes Character Change?

Stacey Kite

Every book on writing emphasizes that your characters, especially the protagonist, need to change over the course of the story. But change how? What constitutes character change?

In the past, that’s been a sticky one for me. Whether it was because writing books seemed to emphasize the importance of personality flaws that made characters annoying or immoral, or because I didn’t catch the subtleties, I interpreted the phrase character change to mean a change in the characters’ characters.

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Practical Prompt 5-10-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Does your scene feel ho-hum, despite having high stakes and intense conflict in it? Perhaps you are repeating plot beats by not allowing your characters to change, learn or grow by the end of the scene. Re-read your scene from beginning to end to see if anything really changed for your character or his situation. If it doesn’t, either cut it or re-write it so it advances the story.