Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wizardry Writing Wednesdays # 6 - More About Characters

Wizard Lexiconi here with another discussion about developing your characters.

First off, I can't stress enough that unless you have an interesting character that the reader will care about, nobody is going to care for your story. 

This is why it's important to really know your character, decide what the character wants and needs, and how you as the storyteller, are going to keep that character from getting what they want until the very end. 

So, now that you know what your hero and villain want, think of ways to hinder them. What problems will your character face? How you have developed your main character will determine how they face their problems. 

For example:
You've developed a mild-mannered little pig who gets frightened easily. So, when faced with a challenge, if   pig becomes suddenly brave, the reader will not buy it. They will hurl your story across the room and go read something more sensible. They might also wish that you be turned into a frog, which I can certainly oblige them if you do this kind of nonsense to a character. 

Keep your character's consistent. If your pig is a coward, then let them face each challenge the way a coward would. If you wish for them to be brave by the end of the story, then you will let him work on small acts of bravely, on purpose or accidental, throughout the story. By the end of the story, I might be more willing to believe your pig will stand up for it's fat little self after a few scenes of it progressively gaining confidence. 

This is called Character growth. And is also known as the Character Arc. That imaginary arched line that takes your character from the pathetic creature to something we can truly cheer for. 

All characters change during the story. 
Dorthy figured out she really did love her home. The Cowardly Lion really was brave. The Tin Man had a heart and the Scarecrow was smart all along. 

Harry learned, through seven books, that he really could be a great wizard because of his willingness to put love above power.

Wilbur learned he really did have value and was important. Charlotte gave him the words and the pig took them to heart and began living them. 

So, how will your character grow during the story? Think about what they start off as and what you want to see them end as. Make a few notes and tuck them into your story folder so you can check on how he/she is progressing along. 

Come back next week as we delve a little deeper into character arc and how it effects plot structure. There are different kinds of arcs to follow that can help you along. Trust me. Frog's honor. 

Let your imagination weave some wacky tales. 
Wiz. Lexiconi, Sr. Mage 1st class: Fabulist extraordinaire

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