Core Conflict: What is it?

Conflict is the tool that fills up the vast majority of your story and provides the bumps that are the journey the reader takes from the opening character-with-a-goal to the closing character-who's-achieved-(or not)-her-goal. So . . . What is Conflict? Half a dozen masters put conflict this way:  two dogs, one bone. "The idea of … Continue reading Core Conflict: What is it?

Defining Setting: Part 2

We're looking at Setting this week. The tool post ran long so I broke it up into two.  The first part was posted yesterday.  You can find it here. CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY:  THE MULTI-TASKING THAT SETTING CAN DO 6. Setting can evoke a mood. "Carefully constructed setting details instruct the reader how to feel," says Ms. … Continue reading Defining Setting: Part 2

Antagonists: How to create a great one.

The masters use many names for antagonists, including nemesis, opponent and villain.  Here's what they have to say... WHAT'S AN ANTAGONIST? The antagonist, or Nemesis, "is the character who most stands in the way of the hero achieving his or her outer motivation," says Michael Hauge. John Truby agrees:  "The opponent is the character who … Continue reading Antagonists: How to create a great one.

Backstory: What Is It?

Now that our characters have irreconcilable conflict, it’s time to support how they got that way with backstory. WHAT’S BACKSTORY? The masters provide tons of definitions of "backstory."  Here’s a sampling: "The backstory is everything that took place before you started page 1," says Jack M. Bickham. "Backstory refers to any essential information about the characters … Continue reading Backstory: What Is It?

The Irreconcilable Self: Creating character paradoxes

This week we’re looking at how to infuse our characters with irreconcilable conflict and make them, as Paula Munier says, "walking contradictions." Contradiction in Character "You can build more plausible, complex characters if they want not just one thing but two that are in conflict," says Nancy Kress. Karl Iglesias calls these two things in … Continue reading The Irreconcilable Self: Creating character paradoxes

Clones: Variations on Theme Through Character

Last updated 2.5.20 One way of showing theme and thematic premise is through comparing and contrasting the main character’s thematic traits with those of supporting characters. Characters who serve this function are often referred to as foils, mirror characters, reflection characters, symbols, or even clones. And they often drive a subplot (which we may look … Continue reading Clones: Variations on Theme Through Character