Six impossible things

Posts Tagged characters

Agency in Fiction

Yesterday, my walking buddy and I were discussing several movies from the 1930s and 40s, and she was complaining about a couple that she strongly disliked because, she said, the main character lacked agency, and had to be rescued from various plots by other people. I did […]

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Character voices

Announcements: For the past year, Tim Cooper has been running around Minneapolis taking pictures of different people reading Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks in places featured in the book. He’s currently running a kickstarter project to finance an art book collecting all the photos. Check it […]

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Different folks

One of the first challenges a new writer faces is that of showing characters who are different from the writer in a convincing and realistic manner. Everybody knows this if they think about writing at all; most beginner-advice books talk about it. And most make one of […]

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Revenge, rehabilitation, and redemption

Some years back, I read a book on the history of the penal system – one of those random research things that pays off in unexpected ways. In this case, what struck me was the author’s summary of the history and theory behind law and punishment. A […]

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Character-based plotting…not

The first time I heard an editor talk about character-based plotting, it made me think I was doing something wrong. (This was around 25 years ago, mind.) “Your characters have to want something, and want it badly,” he said. “That’s where you start. All the best plots […]

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Series flaws

For a variety of reasons, I’ve been rereading a couple of different series recently, even though I gave up on both of them somewhere between book 8 and book 12. One was a mystery series, the other science fiction…but both of them had similar problems. When I […]

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Opinions on villains

“A villain is the one who knows the most and cares the least.” – Chuck Klosterman  I get a lot of good blog ideas from radio quotes. That one came in a July 9, 2013 NPR segment interviewing Mr. Klosterman, who has just written a book about real […]

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Simple and complex

OK, first as regards the computer problems: They are tearing down and rebuilding a house just down the street from me, which evidently was the cause of the problem. Unfortunately, the work is ongoing…and on top of that, they are going to start tearing down and rebuilding […]

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Secondary characters

Once you know enough about your main characters to go on with, you have a whole raft of additional characters who also need to be dealt with. Six realistic, deeply realized, well-rounded, fully developed characters surrounded by five or fifteen or thirty cardboard cutouts do not make […]

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Booting up the Characters

There are a couple of truisms in fiction, and one of them is “stories are about people.” I’d say “Most stories…” but unless you’re really setting out to write something like Islandia or Utopia or Voyage to Arcturus, you can pretty much go with the truism. This […]

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