Creating Unforgettable Characters, Part 5 Conflict

conflict between two menConflict.

In real life, most people try to avoid it, but a story without conflict is like a latte without coffee. In fact, if your story has no conflict, you haven’t got a story.

Let’s first look at conflict from a big picture view: external and internal.

External conflict comes from outside your character—the people, circumstances, or forces of nature your protagonist faces in reaching the story goal.

Internal conflict comes from within your character. Fears, lack of confidence, false beliefs, and more that hinder your character reaching the goal. Quite often, the internal struggle isn’t apparent to your character until later in the story.

The conflicts (external or internal) must be plausible and legitimate, not contrived. Think about [Read more…]

Creating Unforgettable Characters, Part 4 Body Language

body languageIf you close your eyes during a meeting, what message are you sending your colleagues? Is that message universal?

Body Language

While there are several facial expressions universal to the world, the interpretation of body language varies from culture to culture. Misinterpreted body language opens the door to miscommunication. For the fiction writer, this means the opportunity to advance the conflict between your protagonist and antagonist.

Do you consider yourself adept at deciphering body language? [Read more…]

Creating Unforgettable Characters, Part 3, Culture

culture around the world

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

Culture impacts your story more than you might realize. Distinct cultures exist even within the US, just as there are many dialects.

A person’s name often indicates one’s heritage, and thus culture. Did you know the name Dobby, a character from the Harry Potter series, was a real word?

I discovered quite by accident one day playing Scrabble that the word is a British dialect meaning fool. No doubt J.K. Rowling’s British readers knew the importance of the word. To me it was [Read more…]

Creating Unforgettable Characters, Part 2, Temperament

Harry Potter temperament

Image by Ryan_Stekken from Pixabay

We’ve all met them: Miss Sunshine, Mr. Easy Going, Mrs. Bossy, and Ms. Perfectionist. We often chalk it up to “that’s just who they are,” but these titles describe specific temperaments. If you’re not careful, they can become stereotypes.

The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Collegiate Dictionary defines temperament as “characteristic or habitual inclination or mode of emotional response.” Experts consider it innate (we’re born with it). Personality is acquired. Read this article to better understand the differences.

Determining Temperament

The four types above are sanguine (Miss Sunshine, cheerful), phlegmatic (Mr. Easy Going, laid back), [Read more…]

Creating Unforgettable Characters, Part 1

How to create unforgettable characters like Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler.Without unforgettable characters in a story, do you lose interest? I do. But how do you create these characters?

Today begins a series on that topic.

Let’s get real, whether we do it consciously or unconsciously, we want to connect with story characters. We want to discover something about them that we share–their life goals, ethnicity, age, life experience, etc.

This shared connection draws us into the story and helps us care about what happens to the characters.

To Create Unforgettable Characters Give Them Depth

Humans are three dimensional beings—spirit, soul, and body. But we often fail to show all three dimensions in our story.

So, let’s start by analyzing your fiction work in progress (WIP). [Read more…]

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