Sunday, August 15, 2004

How to Build Story People


Not much going on for me. I've been trying to figure out my characters' motivations and goals in my wip, and it's coming slowly. I read something yesterday that jump-started my creativity. From "Creating Characters: How to Build Story People" by Dwight Swain:

I can't quote directly, so I'll just paraphrase: basically when you're creating characters (good and evil) to carry your story, you have to find people you really care about, who cause intense emotional reactions from you.

I know, that's not terribly mind-boggling, but that seemed so profound for me. I've been struggling with characteristics for my hero, and not nailing him down. But after reading that, I realized I need to create characteristics that make ME go ga-ga over him. He's loosely patterned after a movie star (with several traits from dear hubby, natch), so I started thinking, what specific characteristics make him so appealing, and why? And after I started thinking down that road, his characteristics started coming into my head and fleshing him out.

I had wanted to finish with my outlining by now and writing, but I know I need this time to figure out my story outline. I've realized that my characters shouldn't just walk into my plotline, the story should unfold around the specific characters I've created. The characters should be the center around which the storyline revolves. So I want to make sure my characters are real people I care about, or else the plot will just fall flat.

Hopefully this process won't take much longer. The ACRW conference is in mid September, and while I'd like to have a rough draft by then, it's probably too soon. But I'd at least like a solid outline so I know where the four-book series is going.

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