Posts tagged Character Development
The Secret to Crafting Believable Characters

Readers today want to get deep into our characters rather than being told what they are feeling. Which means our characters must feel, react, emote, and process in natural, believable ways. Deep POV has become the norm across genres.

“Show, don’t tell” is the golden rule of fiction. But it’s easier said than done. If we show too much, we risk boring our readers (and ourselves) or overwriting. If we show too little, we risk failing to adequately reveal the character’s emotions and, hence, fail to evoke any emotional response in our readers. 

As we balance narrative, backstory, dialogue, action, and direct thoughts, we have to be mindful of the overarching purpose of all of it: to artfully show the character’s emotional state through her mind-set, thoughts, behavior, dialogue, and body language. It is not easy to do well. The saying “Easy reading is hard writing” is a truth seasoned authors know well.

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How to Craft Compelling Character Backstories

Part of crafting characters involves exploring their history. 

Just as your lived experiences have shaped the person you are today, a character’s backstory has the power to provide depth and understanding to their characterization. It can even lend context to the conflicts taking place in your present story. Without that history, your character’s attitudes and actions have little foundation on which to stand.

But crafting a rich and compelling character backstory is far from simple. What elements should you consider when weaving your character’s history? Better yet, how do you translate that history onto the page without bogging down your story? Let’s answer both of these questions and more in today’s article…

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Do You Know What Drives Your Story’s Narrative?

At the heart of every good story is an arc, a series of related events that compels the reader to engage with the narrative.

Sometimes, that arc is one of external thrills and escapades. Will they catch the killer? Will she break the curse? Other times, that arc is one of inner turmoil or transformation. Will his pride lead to eventual downfall? Will she find it in her heart to forgive? Certainly, both types of arcs can be present in a story. But ultimately, only one can serve as the driving force behind its narrative.

As writers, why is it important to understand which arc lies at the heart of our stories? Let’s examine the difference between plot-driven and character-driven narratives today on the blog.

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How to Craft a Believable Villain

Everyone loves a good villain. 

From Emperor Palpatine to Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and beyond, countless villains have stood the test of time to become classic fictional favorites. Love to hate ‘em or hate to love ‘em, I think it’s safe to say we want readers to feel just as passionately about the villains in our own stories. 

But how can we, as writers, craft antagonists that go beyond mere mustache-twirling and maniacal laughter to become the truly believable, bone-chilling villains we long for them to be? Let's dive deep into villainy in today's breakdown, writer!

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My Top Tips for Balancing Stories with Multiple Points-of-View

Writing fiction from the perspectives of multiple characters can be a lot of fun.

This style of storytelling has gained quite a bit of popularity in recent decades thanks to the rise of film and television, which often structures its stories to showcase many characters’ perspectives. But utilizing multiple points-of-view isn’t the simplest technique to master. 

I’ve received quite a few requests for tips on this topic in recent months, and being as I’ve dabbled in writing stories with multiple points-of-view myself, I decided it was high time to translate my experience into a few key tips to share with you all today. Shall we dive in?

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Our new free e-course, Developing Complex Characters, has arrived!

Crafting characters that feel as real as the people around us is tough.

As humans, we lead messy lives. With mixed emotions and mistakes made, very seldom can we describe ourselves or our experiences as simple. And bringing that complexity to the page in the form of well-developed characters? Well, that’s an equally messy process. Or is it?

Today, writers, I'm excited to announce the arrival of our newest free e-course, Developing Complex Characters! 

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How to Encourage Readers to Invest in Your Story By Crafting Relatable Characters

We want readers to connect with our characters, to step inside their shoes and invest in their journeys.

But creating that easy connection between reader and character isn’t always a clear-cut process. Do our characters need to be, in some way, relatable for readers to connect with their stories? In my opinion, yes, but perhaps not in the way you might think.

Today, writer, let’s cut through the chaos and get straight to the point. If you want to encourage readers to invest in your characters' journeys, here are two key tips you don't want to miss!

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Does Your Story's Sidekick Serve a Purpose?

The best friend. The sassy co-worker. The fellow thief on the crew.

Our stories’ sidekicks can come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing that unifies them is their potential to aid our protagonists through the toughest times in their personal journeys — and maybe create a little secondary tension along the way! 

With such strong purposes to serve, one would think that crafting sidekicks would be a cinch, but it’s not often that a truly sensational right-hand character finds their way onto the pages of a book. So, how can you ensure that your protagonist's sidekick adds real and memorable value to your story? Let’s break down my top tips today, writer!

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The Do's and Don'ts of Crafting Your Story's Love Interest

With all its heart-aching tension and warm, fuzzy feelings, it's easy to see how a good love story can stand the test of time.

Crafting love stories of our own, however, is often tricky business. In a genre as oversaturated and teeming with exhausted tropes as romance, crafting a love story that feels fresh and exciting often requires more than a little hard work. Fortunately, time and intention are on our side. 

By focusing first on crafting the characters who will serve as love interests in our stories, we lay the groundwork for gripping romances to come. So whether you're writing the next great love story or simply looking to include a romantic subplot in your book, let's break down the do's and don'ts of crafting love interests today!

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How to Craft Spectacular Secondary Characters

Are your story’s supporting characters receiving enough attention?

As storytellers, we often work diligently to bring our protagonists to life, taking pains to shape and mold them into characters that feel as real as the living, breathing people around us. Secondary characters, however, don’t always receive that same treatment.

It’s easy to skimp on the characterization of characters who aren’t always in the limelight, but doing so would be a mistake. If we want to immerse readers in a world that feels as rich and compelling as our own, our supporting casts deserve just as much attention as our stories' stars. Today, let’s talk about how to give it to them!

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How to Define Your Character's Unique Voice

To create characters as real as the people around us, we must remember to forge for them their own unique voices.

With individual personalities, cultural influences, experiences, and world views, its no wonder people verbally interact with the world in different ways, and so our characters should as well. Doing so not only helps to distinguish them from the other characters in our stories, but to add depth and realism to their characterization. 

But how do you go about defining your characters’ unique voices? The process is admittedly a bit lengthy, but I promise it will prove well worth your time when your characters’ voices leap off the page truly and fully defined. Sound like a plan? Let’s get started with today's breakdown, writer!

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Have You Chosen the Right Main Character to Tell Your Story?

Main characters can make or break a story’s success.

Oftentimes, the doubts we face as we work to bring our main characters to life can seem endless. Are our protagonists’ well-rounded enough? Are they interesting? Will readers root for them to achieve their goal? 

Choosing the right main character to carry the weight of your story is absolutely vital, but knowing whether you’ve selected the perfect protagonist can be tricky—or is it? Truth is: knowing you’ve chosen the right main character for your story doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s why…

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How to Find Your Character's Motivation

Writers, it’s time to talk about Why-Power! 

Specifically, the why behind your characters’ story goals. Strong goals drive plot, of course, but it’s your characters reasons for wanting to achieve those goals that lend your story context and power. How so?

In today's article, we're going to break why motivations are such powerful storytelling tools, as well as the two main types of motivations and how you can create well-developed motivations for your own story. Ready to get started? We have a lot of ground to cover, so let's dive in!

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The Four Main Types of Epic Antagonists

Every story needs a good villain, right? Well, not so fast…

Stories need conflict, certainly, but conflict doesn't have to come at the hands of a cackling, mustache-twirling supervillain. There's more than one way to shape your story's antagonist!

In fact, there are four main types of antagonists that appear in fiction, and I can't wait to break them all down with you today. Which type of antagonist is best for your story? How can you make each type a true stand-out success? Read on for more, my friend.

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How to Build Epic Emotional Conflict by Utilizing Your Character's Lie

In storytelling, there is external and internal conflict.

External conflict consists of the struggle between a character and an outside force, whether that be a person or some element of nature, society, or technology. Every story has a bit of external conflict, but those that are driven by it are known as plot-driven stories. 

Internal conflict, on the other hand, occurs within a character. The character may struggle to stay true to their morals or beliefs in the face of pressure or temptation, or they may struggle to overcome some false belief, a "lie" they tell themselves that holds them back from living the very best version of their life.

It's this second type of internal conflict—the struggle between a character and their Lie—that we're going to break down today!

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How to Define Your Character's Story Goal

Are you ready to get your plot rolling?

The first step to creating epic conflict for your story is to define your characters’ goals. When you know what your characters want, you know what action they’ll take. And if you craft your protagonist’s and antagonist’s goals with purpose in mind, the actions they take are sure to lead to some pretty awesome conflict.

Not sure what your characters want to achieve? Let’s dive into today’s lesson!

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Our newest Well-Storied workbook is live: introducing Crafting Incredible Characters!

Hello there, writers, and happy Friday!

Today, I'm so excited to announce the launch of our newest Well-Storied workbook. Crafting Incredible Characters is 105-page digital workbook designed specifically to help you develop well-rounded characters that leap off the page.

As I've often said, characters are the backbone of any good story. It's their desires that drive the plot forward, their motivations that pull on readers' emotions, their flaws and weaknesses that keep tensions running high, and their complexities that breathe life onto the pages of your story.

But the process of crafting characters that fulfill all of those functions with grace and ease is certainly easier said than done.

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How to Craft Riveting Internal Conflict For Your Story

Conflict is the backbone of any good story.

External conflict, which we broke down recently here on the blog, occurs between a character and an outside force, whether that be another character or an element of nature, society, or technology. On the other hand, internal conflict arises from an ethical or emotional debate that occurs within a character.

This style of conflict, while occurring in some form in every story, has the same ability to carry the full weight of a plot as external conflict. But how? Well, let’s discuss internal conflict together today!

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How to Craft Character Arcs for Your Trilogy

Welcome back to our blog miniseries on crafting trilogies!

In last week’s article, we introduced the series and covered a few trilogy basics, including the three main types of trilogies and four ways you can plot your own. But focusing on plot alone won’t help you write a successful trilogy. 

Today, we’re going to turn our attention to character arcs—specifically, the four types of character arcs you can utilize as you map out the inner conflict and development of your trilogy’s characters. Sound like a plan?

Make sure to check out part one of our blog miniseries before getting started, then come on back to dive into the wonderful world of character arcs below!

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Crafting Strong Character Arcs For Your Novel

Hey, writers! Last week on the blog, we learned how to build powerful themes into our stories.

One thing I mentioned was that theme is often revealed through our stories' character arcs, but showcasing theme isn't the only way strong character arcs can add to our stories.

Character arcs can also introduce riveting internal conflict, raise our stories' stakes, add complexity to our characters, and create a deep emotional connection with our readers. Not too shabby, eh?

That's why I want to take time today to dig into character arcs---specifically, how you can craft your own with ease. Knowledge is power, right? So let's get started!

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