Fiction

Torture Your Characters And Create a Page Turner They Can’t Put Down

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by Fred E. WhyteArticle Categories: ,

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You’ve been there. Exhausted and it’s getting late. But you can’t stop reading. You promise yourself that at the end of the chapter, you’ll stop. Most of the time, you do just that. But sometimes, a book’s hook sinks in too deep to let you go. How do some writers accomplish this? Heather Sunseri gives tips how. Your book is fast-paced. What do you think are the most effective tactics in keeping the reader hooked? HS—For me, when I read books, I know that I stay hooked when I’m worried about the character(s). There has to be enough conflict to keep readers hooked. At the macro level, I know before I start writing word #1 where my story is going. I never have a complete outline, but I at least have a general idea where I need to be by certain parts or plot points of the novel. For example, I shoot for […]

Weave Psychology Into Your Character Development — Character Motivation Tips from Alexander Kavalier

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by Carrie De Simas Article Categories: ,

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What would happen if Prince Charming broke the Fairy Tale Princess’s heart—and her sanity too? Author Alexander Kavalier’s novel Meant is a psychological examination of what would happen if Clarissa, the fairy tale princess archetype, suddenly had her mental stability shattered. But how does an author weave research into character development? AK: I looked at it from the point of an addiction. This addiction often overcomes all rationality ensuring that the addict can justify getting their next fix regardless of the situation. In some ways the subconscious could actually represent the addiction within her. I wanted to show the distinction between a bad person and bad actions. Clarissa genuinely believes she is doing the right thing. By midpoint, Clarissa has committed some serious acts of violence. Since the reader sees these actions through her eyes, we don’t get much detail. Why? AK: She has become detached from reality by this […]

Character Development Tips From Theatre Actress and Author Melanie Card

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by Fred E. WhyteArticle Categories: ,

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Every author has their own unique strategies for really getting to know their characters, and each draws from their own unique backgrounds. Melanie Card is a published author of fantasy novels who also happens to be a theatre actress with numerous and diverse roles under her belt. This dynamic experience has helped her with her writing, and can help you too. The most obvious questions is, how does acting on a live stage help with fiction writing? MC: “As an actor the biggest strategy I use to get into character is to focus on motivation and emotion. I ask myself a lot of questions. How does/would the character feel in this situation? What drives my character? What do I want? How does the situation relate to what I want? How do I feel or what do I think about the other characters? I use all of these strategies when writing […]

How To Create Magical Protagonists that People Will Love – An Interview with Author Aria Williams

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by Fred E. WhyteArticle Categories: ,

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Have you ever played the game of the Genie in the Bottle? Try it. Try and come up with even one wish for yourself and then think of all the ways your wording can be twisted and used against you. You wish to be thin. Uh oh. Did you not specify that you didn’t want to be anorexic? Or violently allergic to sugar, fried foods, carbs and…well, everything worth eating?  This is the price of magic. Just as Rumpelstiltskin from the television series Once Upon A Time, regularly intones: “All magic comes with a price.”  This must also be true of the fantasy and paranormal creatures we as writers create. For every ounce of power we imbue them with, we must also give them a limitation, a cost or a flaw. Superman has Kryptonite. Lord Voldemort has Harry Potter. Darth Vader (as it turns out) has his love for his […]

How to Create a Sympathetic Character

Karyn Connor

by Karyn ConnorArticle Categories: ,

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Sympathetic characters are a major selling point in today’s fiction market. The reader wants to give a damn about the protagonist and wants the guilt-free pleasure of watching them suffer tremendously before achieving the emotional equivalent of winning the lottery.That doesn’t mean that the hero has to be the overt rescue-the-cat-from-the-tree type. Readers will root for even the darkest and most fucked up of heroes. How though?Take the book gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson. The protagonist, Arlene Fleet, hasn’t made good decisions. The author doesn’t shirk these errors in judgment though. She puts them out there and carefully crafts a thread of sympathy. She does this by sprinkling enough backstory to make us care about Arlene and by planting questions that beg answers in our minds.As Arlene says: “I had 102 kids in my class at Fruiton High. Fifty-three of them were boys. During my sophomore year, I fucked […]

How to Create and Use Secondary Characters

Karyn Connor

by Karyn ConnorArticle Categories: ,

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If you’re trying to figure out how to really squeeze the most out of your secondary characters, check out City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster.In this young adult, dystopian novel, Forster uses secondary characters to show the increasing stakes of the murders occurring within the City where all unwanted girls are sent to be groomed in various professions and reintroduced to society.The first victim of the novel is Atiy. She is a beautiful, young and has a promising future ahead of her: “Pale complexion, hair like lamplight. There aren’t many girls of that description in the City, or in the Empire.”  Her uniqueness and value is shown, but there is no emotional impact for the protagonist, Nisha. Basically, though we understand the value of the loss, emotionally we don’t really give a damn.The second victim is Jina essentially a walk-on character, but Forster uses the five pages (only!) […]

Using Plot to Create Sympathetic Characters

Karyn Connor

by Karyn ConnorArticle Categories: ,

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One way to create sympathy for characters is through external events. It can also be used as an external, plot-driven metaphor for the internal character flaws and strengths. Take Nisha in City of a Thousand Dolls by Mirium Forster. Nisha has been abandoned to the City by her parents without explanation. She is lonely and her best friends are cats because all the other girls are training for their futures. Nisha has no future. She is the Annie archetype. Poor orphan girl with spunk and intelligence that we want to see rise above it. Forster creates sympathy for the secondary characters as well. Early in the book, a young academic girl named Jina is introduced. She is only on set for a few pages but is shown as inquisitive, kind, non-judgmental and generous. Basically, she saves Nisha’s ass with nothing in it for her. When she dies, we give a […]

How to Create a Kick-Ass Heroine

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by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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Everything I need to know about being a heroine, I learned from my cat… When in doubt, cop an attitude. Be yourself at full wattage and find a way to kick it up a notch in key moments whether in acts of bravery, sensual allure, intelligence or intrigue. Sometimes you need to dig in your nails to make a point.  There comes a time in every heroine’s life when someone tries to keep her down, whether it’s a villain, a rival or the hero himself. Stay focused on what’s important. Keep the hero guessing about how you feel.  Be sweet and available one minute, then turn with a sharp glance and tail in the air the next. Heroes may not always like this inconsistency, but they are powerless against the intrigue. If the destination looks too high, too far or too scary: chances are that’s where the ultimate treasure is […]

How to Create a Hot Romantic Hero

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by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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Everything I needed to know about my hero, I learned from my dog:  If you stare at someone long enough, eventually you’ll get what you want. This is key to business and pleasure: always maintain focus. If it is the heroine you’re after, don’t look at other women because that shows the heroine that you’re just not that into her. Never lose sight of the goal. Know when to hold your tongue, and when to use it. Sometimes it is good to talk things out. Sometimes, it’s more important to just grab the girl and kiss her. Hard. If it’s not wet and sloppy, it’s not a real kiss. Chaste kisses are for friends and Godfathers. If you’re going to kiss her, do it with gusto and make her really wet. Life is short: bark loud and bite hard.  Figure out what you truly want and play for keeps. Otherwise, […]

The Sexy Siren: Dangerous Pleasure Archetype in Stories

Carrie De Simas

by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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Marilyn Monroe. No one mastered the art of Siren better than she. Decades after her death, she is still revered as a sex symbol, adored and often emulated. In Greek mythology, the Siren was a dangerously beautiful creature that lived in the waters and lured men (sailors usually) to their deaths. This archetype can be seen in the film Pirates of Caribbean: On Stranger Tide in which the mermaids lured sailors to the depths of the water—often willingly. You don’t have to writing a mermaid story though to use the siren archetype. Everyone loves a sexual fantasy, especially if that fantasy is focused on one man solely (or, at least, he thinks she is). “The Siren is the ultimate male fantasy figure because she offers a total release from the limitations of his life.” (Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction , 2001) A woman’s power can be in the lushness […]