When J.K. Rowling introduces new Characters…
…you can visualize them almost instantly.
- Lightning bolt scar.
- Hand-me down robes.
- A mane of bushy, brown hair.
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, excells at writing unforgettable physical descriptions of her characters. I want to show you the magic behind her technique.
Read this, and you will be able to create your own vivid characters in just a few short strokes of your writing quill…
Continue reading How J.K. Rowling Describes Unforgettable Characters (With Examples)
He was weak…
…because he had no history.
It took me seventeen rewrites (and one editor) before this dawned on me.
The reason my readers could not get immersed in my story – was because my main character had a weak backstory.
I could tell you everything about him…
- The shape of his face
- His most powerful values
- How much money he had in his pocket
But without a backstory, this character was dragging down the entire story. Let me show you how to fix this problem:
Continue reading How to Write the Perfect Backstory for Any Character
Quick: what is the most excitable organ in the body?
That’s right – it’s the imagination.
Sometimes, when you’re getting all hot and bothered creative, you get too eager (don’t worry, it happens to all of us).
You get this urge to create, and create, and create. Before you know it, you have a glut of characters:
- 4 protagonists, with 4 distinct groups of companions
- 6 love interests
- 12 dwarves
- And a guy named Frank because you couldn’t think of a better name, so you just used this as a place holder until a better name comes along…
Is that too many names? How many characters SHOULD your short story/novel/Harry Potter fan fiction have?
Continue reading How Many Characters Should Your Story Have?
The girl with the flower tied to her back was called Amber.
She rode a speckled grey mare through the forests of grain, the flower’s white petals lapping at her shoulder with every stride. Dirt furrows rose and fell like foothills, and the forest of grain never changed-
Until Amber’s head was nearly lopped off by a scythe.
Continue reading The Vast Size of Old Age (Flash Fiction
I swear, I only saw it for the sloths.
Yet, by the end of the first two scenes, I had already learned more than enough from Zootopia (2016) to pack up the popcorn, leave the theater, and write this post.
I mean, I didn’t. I stayed for the sloths.
My point is Zootopia is a highly accessible movie that uses VERY GOOD DEVICE for writing sympathetic characters and fleshing out their motives. Thrice.
Here’s what I learned (Spoilers Ahoy!):
Continue reading Writing Better Characters: Zootopia’s Clever Lesson on Backstory
“The Word of Wigaldir calls you!”
“Eternal life in Enga’s arms.”
“Fear not, sinners. Lether the Blessed will bring us to salvation!”
Like the mating calls of jungle birds, voices sailed over our heads, clamoring for our attention. Bristling with energy and humid with sweat, a forest of limbs and bodies slowed our passage through the bazaar. My guide, a woman half-hidden under a shawl, kept one hand tightly wrapped around my wrist as she pulled me through the Tangle. Bodies pressed in around us.
“What does any of this have to do with my stories?” I shouted over the din of people and prophets.
A girl with golden coins covering her eyes singled me out in the Tangle, writhing as she spoke, “Come, and worship at the altar of Satina with me. The sensual tongue-”
Continue reading Too Many Names? A Tip for Cleaning Up Your Writing
If you are a writer, then you are a whole thesaurus of other things too.You are an artist, an architect, a dreamer, a tactician, a politician, an anthropologist, a historian, the list continues.
Today, none of these roles are your concern, because today, you are a psychologist.
As a writer, you should be obsessed with human behavior, because human behavior is what will drive your characters:
- Why do people do things?
- What would make someone act a certain way?
- Why do these people want this, and what are they willing to do for it?
- What would change their minds?
By now, you know that motivations are important, but what else is there to creating a good character? How do professional writers do it? How badly do you want to do some homework?
Don’t answer that last one. Let’s get into two different techniques that are going to help you improve your characters:
Continue reading How Strangers Can Inspire Your Characters