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Thursday, January 24, 2013

cunning craft


 

Here's what another of my favorites has to say about characters: "Begin with a character who wants something, and you're off to a good start."*

Think about that for a second and then consider a few characters you know. Like Harry Potter. What did he want? Wasn't it his wanting that made the whole story? Or think about Frodo wanting to get rid of the ring, or Kvothe wanting to learn the name of the wind. This is where stories begin, with characters wanting something. It might be as simple as getting out of their boring town and away from their boring lives or as difficult and complex as defeating the Dark Lord who murdered their parents.

Now, think about your characters. Think about what they want more than anything and how they plan on getting it. Then think about how you're going to make it difficult for them to achieve their goal. What obstacles will they have to overcome? What sacrifices will they have to make? And will it all be worth it in the end?




* from By Cunning & Craft, by Peter Selgin.


5 comments:

Francene Stanley said...

Good points, all. In the current novel I'm submitting to the Internet Writers Workshop, one chapter at a time, that's the thing most people point out: I don't mention what my main character wants enough times.

mshatch said...

can you have your character think about what he/she wants? Or maybe someone else can mention it or think about it.

farawayeyes said...

Ha! My MC is completely fixated on his 'want'. I guess that's a good thing.

Liz said...

I recall watching a (very cheesy Lifetime) movie where an actress tried to explain acting to someone. She said that you must know what your character wants and use that to inform the character. So true.

Tara Tyler said...

great advice! thanks for passing it on!