What makes a character strong?

When I say strong, I mean a character who grabs your attention during the story and is memorable afterwards.  He or she may or may not have a strong “character.” Think of your five favorite films. Take a look at the character who leads the story. What does he do? Why do you care? Examine … Continue reading

Plot templates and devices, Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

You’ve seen them— the books, lists, articles—that enumerate plots. The betrayed lover, coming of age, the quest, the hero’s journey, etc. There’s nothing wrong with them—as tools. Any reader can tell you they can spot a “plot template.” The story plods, the turns are predictable. The reader puts down the script and picks up the … Continue reading

Deep into character; be a character for a day

I have read scripts from beginning writers that start out with crackerjack characters. I get settled in to read the rest of the story and then…nothing. The characters turn flat and the story turns episodic. Most often after a brief introduction the characters sit (no action) around a kitchen table/in a café/in a park and … Continue reading

Research baseline: Look for authenticity

“No doubt you have the power here to talk about why…” “That’s not as bad as the Ramero brothers…” “Do you want to write an apology to her family?” “What I have here in my hand is the result of our investigation. It shows you had an active part in…”   Real words from a … Continue reading

Subplot takeover: Mapping the plot beforehand helps

I am currently reading a book with a multiple plot format with many characters accomplishing different goals all headed toward the same objective. It doesn’t matter what book, or who the famous and well-respected author is; what matters is that two of the characters in a subplot are the most intriguing, charming and interesting. I … Continue reading

Fictional characters in a fictional world: Thoughts from Umberto Eco.

Today I’m having an Umberto Eco day—my mind is going in many directions. I’m reading Confessions of a Young Novelist. I’m having strong approach/avoidance about writing the blog. I vowed to myself to write a blog a week. Here are some quotes that started my mind going at 6 AM: To be permanently emotionally involved … Continue reading

Character weakness adds interest: 8 easy choices for character development

  When characters have weaknesses they are more interesting.  Will the protagonist succumb to his desire for alcohol?   When you are developing characters for a story make certain you assign at least one weakness to your central characters. Rather than read Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV to sort through what … Continue reading

The First Draft: Permission to Write Badly

rewrite

The first draft is just that: a draft. You get your story ideas down in sequence. You do not need to get everything perfect: scene sequence, character, dialogue. All that comes when you go back to editing. First you write.   At this point you don’t need to write well, just get the story down. … Continue reading

Character Questionnaire

Character Questionnaire       1. How does your character think of their father? What do they hate and love about him? What influence – literal or imagined – did the father have? 2. Their mother? How do they think of her? What do they hate? Love? What influence – literal or imagined – did … Continue reading

Character Development: What I’m doing today.

Posting this for those of you who have been following my tweets about working this process. Character Development from The Script Lab CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT ASSIGNMENTS CHARACTER BIO: MAIN PROTAGONIST Objective: Dig deep with a character, discovering background history, personality, psychology, and current goals. Exercise: Write a detailed description of your main character (1 page only). … Continue reading

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