Six impossible things

Posts Tagged characters

What drives the story

“What drives your story, plot or characters?” There are a bunch of problems with this question. First off, what drives the story isn’t an either-or dichotomy; it’s a continuum that runs from the total-action-with-cardboard-characters tale at one end to the nothing-but-character-introspection story at the other end, with […]

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The Worst Possible Thing

“Ask yourself what the worst possible thing is that you can do to your characters” is an often-repeated piece of advice that is a lot less helpful than it looks. If you follow it literally, about 99% of the time the answer is going to be “torture […]

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What type of character?

Characters are the heart of a story; practically everyone says so. There are reams of writing advice covering how to come up with great characters, how to make them “round”, how to make them grow and change over the course of a book, and so on. Much […]

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Killing off characters

Like most readers, I really hate it when my favorite character dies, whether it’s in mid-story or right at the end (though the longer the character has been around, the more I’m invested and the more I hate losing them). But there are some stories that I […]

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Primary characters

Primary characters are the big ones: the hero/protagonist, the villain/antagonist, the main viewpoint character. These are the characters the reader identifies as the ones the story is about. They’re the ones with the biggest stake in the outcome of the story, and usually they’re the ones who […]

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Secondary characters

First, a small announcement: Amazon has my Lyra novels on their Kindle monthly deal for $3.99 for the whole month of February, so if you don’t have them in e-book and want them, this is a reasonably good time to pick them up. On to the post. […]

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Minor characters

Minor characters are the second rung up from walk-ons. They occupy many of the same niches as walk-ons – cab driver, waitperson, store clerk, army private, city guard, maintenance worker – but they’re not just there in the background. They interact with the central characters in more […]

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Proliferating viewpoints

Having lots of viewpoint characters is usually one major reason for a proliferation of subplots. Each viewpoint character is the protagonist of his/her own story, and that story inevitably has its own subplots. So if you normally find that your stories have two subplots, and your novel […]

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Characters and change

One of the current fundamental tenets for writing fiction is that in order to be a “good book,” the central character in the story has to change as a result of the events in it. If one attempts to question this “requirement,” one is informed that if […]

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The Villain Continuum

Every person in the world has their own perspective, and most of them are different from yours. It follows that if you want to do realistic characters, many (if not most) of them will have perspectives that differ from yours. Which means that in order to make […]

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