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.
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.
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.
Last week, my writing group finally got to read and critique a scene in my work-in-progress that introduces the antagonist to the readers. I say “finally” because I’ve been struggling to write this scene for quite some time. No matter what approach I tried, I just couldn’t seem to pull it together. So, I made it my goal at the start of 2017 to figure out why this scene wasn’t working. Continue reading
I spent this past weekend doing a character interview with the antagonist in my work in progress. I’ve shied away from doing character interviews in the past because, frankly, they seemed silly. My characters lived in my imagination. I created them. I didn’t need to ask a series of questions of, in essence, myself pretending to be my character to figure out their weaknesses and goals. So why did I change my mind? I realized I was neglecting one of my greatest strengths as a writer. Continue reading