All posts tagged: creating great characters

Write on, Wednesday: Susan Elizabeth Phillips Talks about Character-Driven Plot

By Leslie Lindsay Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a Spanish writer, depicted with the tools of the trade. (image retrieved fromWikipedia, 5.30.12) I will admit that I am not one to fall in love with a romance novel.  It’s not that I don’t like romance–I do, it’s just that I would rather be the heroine than read about her.  Who wouldn’t, right?  But, I can appreciate a good writer when I see one…or know one…or take one of her workshops at a conference.  Which is exactly what I did about a month ago. Susan Elizabeth Phillips may be tiny, but she is big on ideas and big on being sassy.  I mean that in a good way, SEP.  She has a wit about her that is infectious.  And if you have ever read her books, you will soon come to realize that she talks just like her characters–razor-sharp, funny, and a little saucy.  She had us in stitches several times with her personal stories.  And stories, are after all, what makes us write. In “Drawing Plot …

Write On, Wednesday: Knuckle Cracking and Time

By Leslie Lindsay So, I just got back from this writing conference.  Let me tell you, writing is so much more than cracking your knuckles and sitting down to your keyboard, coffee cup nearby and a blank slate on which to pound out the world’s best novel.  Oh, no! Here’s a quote from a session I attended:  “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”  Yep. I am still trying to get my bearings after being back.  It’s overwhelming in a sense.  You take a step out of your “real life” and surround yourself in the throes of writers and the writing life and it all becomes a little bit…well, suffocating.  But I say that in a good way.  You eat, breathe, and sleep writing.  Really.  I dreamed about all of the crazy interactions I had over the course of the two days I attended the conference.  Lunch and dinner is with the same group of people.  The topic of conversation:  why writing, of course! My totebag is full of notes, goodies, and loads of free books …

Write on, Wednesday: Developing Characters

By Leslie Lindsay I have been reading these great books from Writer’s Digest Books, their “Write Great Fiction” series.  In this particular title, Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint:  Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints (2005), the author Nancy Kress gives us readers (writers?) a checklist for developing characters. Here it is: Your four sources for drawing characters:  yourself, people you know, strangers you hear or read about, and pure imagination.  Modify them if they are you, people you know, even strangers to some degree.  Don’t make it too transparent. List of potential characters?  Choose a protangonist.  Now, study your “cast of characters.”  Are they interesting?  Diverse?  Are you excited to write about them?  Do they connect to your protagonist in a realistic manner? No matter how much backstory is presented in the narrative, you should have a clear picture of each character’s past.  Your character’s motivation should grow out of his/her backstory.  More unusual motivation–>more backstory.  (helps create emotion) Interesting characters hold conflicting values and/or desires.  “Help” readers select the character’s personalities …