Tami Cowden | Author I am happy to say that The Complete Writers’ Guide to Heroes and Heroines is now available on Kindle! And even better – so is Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Master Villain Archetypes! What are the Sixteen Master Archetypes? The word "archetype" was coined by Carl Jung, who theorized that humans have a collective unconscious, "deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity.... a kind of readiness to reproduce over and over again the same or similar mythical ideas...." The observations my coauthors and I made are that there are recurring character types who have starred in story after story, entertaining and informing the human experience for millennia. At his or her core, every well-defined hero or heroine is one of the respective archetypes. But beware when trying to decide what archetypal family to which a character belongs. I am serious – what the character does is not the defining element. “Any archetype can do anything – the question will always be why.” Top
102 Resources for Fiction Writing « Here to Create UPDATE 1/10: Dead links removed, new links added, as well as Revision and Tools and Software sections. Are you still stuck for ideas for National Novel Writing Month? Or are you working on a novel at a more leisurely pace? Here are 102 resources on Character, Point of View, Dialogue, Plot, Conflict, Structure, Outlining, Setting, and World Building, plus some links to generate Ideas and Inspiration. Also, I recommend some resources for Revision and some online Tools and Software. Too many links? 10 Days of Character Building Name Generators Name Playground The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test Priming the idea pump (A character checklist shamlessly lifted from acting) How to Create a Character Seven Common Character Types Handling a Cast of Thousands – Part I: Getting to Know Your Characters It’s Not What They Say . . . Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid “Stepping Out of Character” How to Start Writing in the Third Person Web Resources for Developing Characters Speaking of Dialogue
Character Flaw Index To make characters realistic and relatable they are given flaws, because if there is anything a writer can be sure of it is that no one in their audience will be perfect. Flaws are character traits that have a negative impact in the narrative, unless they are simply informed. They can also be exploited. See Good Flaws, Bad Flaws for a scale of flaw acceptability. Compare Seven Deadly Sins, Ego Tropes. Abusive Parents: Habitually violent and cruel to their own children, often because that's how they themselves were raised.
Character Chart FAVORITES Color: Music: Food: Literature: Expressions: Book: Quote: Expletive(s) (swears): Mode of transportation: HABITS Smokes: What? How often? Drinks: What? How often? SELF-PERCEPTION One word character would use to describe self: One paragraph description of how character would describe self: What does character consider best physical characteristic? Immediate goal(s): Long range goal(s): How does character plan to accomplish goal(s)? How character react in a crisis (calm/panic/etc.)? Jewelry? Owns a computer? © (c ) copyright 1990-2011 Rebecca Sinclair ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Authors Note: I worked hard on this. ~ Permission is granted to LINK TO the Fiction Writers Character Chart. ~ Permission is granted to print out a copy of the Fiction Writers Character Chart FOR PERSONAL USE ~ Permission is NOT granted to copy and/or use the Character Chart in print and/or electronic form (including the internet) without express written permission)
story based on character 6 Ways to Make Sure Your Reader’s Brain Syncs with Your Protagonist’s Brain photo by Andres Musta via Flickr Because here’s the thing: it’s not fiction. It’s fact. And, okay, the part where you have to put your fingertips on the other guy’s face to do it. To figure that part out we had to wait for something that even ‘Bones’ McCoy didn’t have access to — fMRI technology, which revealed that when we’re really engaged in listening to a story, our brain synchronizes with the speaker’s brain – literally mirroring it. fMRI studies reveal that when we’re really engaged in listening to a story, our brain synchronizes with the speaker’s brain – literally mirroring it. In other words, we really are on the same wavelength, and their experiences become ours. The exact same thing is true when we’re reading a story. Cognitive psychologist and novelist Keith Oatley defines fiction as “a simulation that runs on the software of our minds. Exactly! Story is an internal brain-to-brain, emotion-driven expedition, whether it’s a literary novel, a potboiler or an ad for toothpaste.
Establishing the Right Point of View Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid "Stepping Out of Character" by Marg Gilks Return to Characters, Viewpoint, and Names · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version "Dalquist was shaking with rage, tears streaking down her face. 'Get out,' she whispered. Yikes! If you can see what's wrong with this excerpt, congratulations. What's wrong with the above excerpt? Paragraph one is ambiguous. Every scene should have only one POV character, and everything must be filtered through that POV character's perceptions. But, isn't it so much easier just to tell the reader what character X is thinking, rather than trying to show it in ways the POV character (and thus, the reader) can see and understand? Let's look at that again, and we'll see a hint: isn't it so much easier just to tell the reader what character X is thinking, rather than trying to show it in ways the POV character can see and understand? Yup: "show, don't tell." Yup: characterization. "Lexas didn't turn around. Find Out More...
How to Poison your Ficiontal Characters Do you have a fictional character you need to kill, but you don't want them strangled or shot or stabbed with a knife? Do you want your murderer to kill them without letting anyone know what you plan to do or who your killer is? Try using poison. Unlike other forms of murder, poisoning is fast and easy and doesn't require strength or a good aim, and if it's done properly, by the time the person realizes he's been poisoned, it's too late, he's already dead. Care to have one of your characters try her hand at murder? Hemlock: All parts of the plant are poisonous. There are many other poisons, too many to list here, and most of them are available to the average person. Are you thinking of writing a historical and don't know what was available at the time? Think about the needs of your story, and with a little imagination and some interesting research, you should be able to come up with just the right poison to kill that doomed character.
Character and Characterisation in the Novel How to write convincing characters Characterisation - the task of building characters - isn't easy. But if you're struggling to build characters with real life and vigour, just follow these rules. If you do follow them correctly, we can pretty much guarantee that your characterisation will be just fine! Know what kind of character you are writing There are roughly two types of protagonist in fiction. The second type of character (rather less common, in fact) is the genuinely extraordinary character who would make things happen in an empty room. Either type of character is fine - don't struggle to equip your ordinary character with a whole lot of amazing skills, or try to 'humanise' your James Bond character by making him nice to old ladies and interested in baking. Empathy is about story and good writing Likewise, don't worry too much if your character is likeable. A) you write well enough that your reader is drawn in to your protagonist's world, whether they like it or not; and
It's Not What They Say... by Mary Cook In fiction writing it's the dialogue that lifts your characters off the page. You must ensure your writing is strong enough for the task. It's not what they say; it's the way they say it Speech has a natural rhythm, like music. You can tell a lot about a character by his verbal mannerisms. One person might use "you know" a great deal, while another opens nearly every sentence with "Well". Punctuation is almost as important as the words. Punctuation is also important from a style point of view. Don't use the exclamation point too freely. You can learn a lot about realistic dialogue by eavesdropping on other people's conversations. Don't be tempted to write with a regional accent by introducing strange spellings. Anyone who has read Somerset Maugham's Liza of Lambeth will know what I mean. For example, the following dialogue on the subject of childbirth could lead the reader to think Maugham couldn't spell or was writing in a foreign language: Cut out the superfluous words.