December 29, 2010
The basic building blocks that make a good story are well-known and relevant no matter what medium you use to tell your tale. But your understanding of those tools will change over time, with practice and experience. By way of example, let me natter for a bit about the way my understanding of how to create a character has been refined over time.
A long time ago, when I was a very young and foolish writer, I thought I knew how to make a character. It was a simple business; you needed a name, hair and eye color, maybe an age or profession. Boom! A ready-made puppet poised to act out the things I wanted to happen in my story. This unfortunate idea was supported by the scourge that is the AD&D character sheet.
As I grew older and marginally more skilled, my understanding of character grew a shade more complex. I started thinking in broader terms of character as personality, above and beyond surface attributes. Were they funny? Impulsive? Cowardly?
For the first time, I came to understand that the actions a character can take in a story should necessarily be limited by that collection of traits. Cowardly Caroline wouldn't take it upon herself to bust that ring of horse thieves, and sterling-hearted Chief Halloway wouldn't start taking bribes to let the orphanage ignore fire codes. Before that, I never needed a reason more thought-through than "because it's what I want to happen." But things shouldn't happen if they are out of character, eh?
As my understanding of my tool improved, so, too, did my stories....
Read the full post on Andrea's blog,