Posts Tagged ‘character development’

Build A Better Story Review

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

The Quintessentially Quilly  website reviewed my fiction writing ebook.BABS cover

You can read it by following this link


Saturday, May 15th, 2010

The short essay below is based upon the material in chapter 5 of my book on fiction writing: Build a Better Story.

Today’s topic is characterization and I’ll concentrate of an aspect that you’ll have trouble finding in how-to books on fiction writing: a character’s philosophical outlook on life. Everyone has a philosophical outlook (but you may not be aware of it) and characters deserve one also because this attribute influences the way the character thinks and defines the character’s reaction to some story stimuli.

This element is one of the first that I give to a new character since it influences other some attributes and dictates still. For instance, a reader will not believe in a cheerful character who is supposed to be a pessimist. Similarly, a morose character will make a poor (i.e. unbelievable) optimist.

In building a group of characters for a story, I ensure that the characters have a variety of philosophies. A lot of conflict and humor can be achieved by giving the protagonist and a sidekick conflicting philosophies such as mysticism and materialism. This last pair pits a character with a strong belief in faith against another who doesn’t believe that faith has anything to do with events or results. This pair of characters will attribute an event to completely different causes. One will see it as an act of god while the other will believe it is only luck or coincidence. These differences of opinion can provide the writer with a wealth of material that is useful for conflict and/or humor.

There is much more about characterization in Build a Better Story including a list of personal philosophies I use for my characters along with an explanation on what the philosophy entails. I also detail another little understood aspect of characterization; Dominant Reader Emotions. This aspect is critical; it’s what you want the reader to remember about the character.

BABS cover

Empty Words

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

This paragraph is taken from Build a Better Story, my ebook that contains my fiction-writing articles and advice for beginning writers.

These are words such as: very, even, ever, really, still, just.  In many cases, they have no individual meaning and only increase the word count.  In our real-world conversations, these words are used almost as punctuation marks and that usage carries over into our writing.  The test for an empty word is to remove it from the sentence and see if the meaning changes.  It doesn’t change than there is no need to include the word.  This advice applies to exposition, not dialog.  Since these words are sprinkled throughout our normal speech, a few appearances of these words make dialog sound more natural.

Here is the Table of Contents for Build a Better Story:

  • Story Construction
  • Motivation
  • Patience
  • Character Development
  • Plotting a Story
  • Daytime TV
  • Writing humor
  • Writing a scene
  • Point of view
  • Setting
  • Getting Started
  • Writing Tips
  • Odds & Ends
  • Story Construction Flow Chart
  • Books on Writing
  • Writing Forms
  • About the Author

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