What Makes a Great Character?

character from pixabayWith all the reading I do, I’m very aware of how I feel about different characters in different books. There are times when I’ll go weeks — months, even — and not read a book that knocks me out. I begin to wonder if I’m getting jaded, but then, suddenly, a book comes along that I simply love and the characters are more like dear friends than two-dimensional sketches. These characters really grab me: make me laugh, make me cry, make me bite my nails with worry over their challenges. But they’re rare. Rarer than they should be. So it got me to thinking, what makes a really, really great character? Here’s my list, in no particular order. Continue reading “What Makes a Great Character?”

Creating a Worthy Adversary

Author Laurie StevensGuest Post
by Laurie Stevens

One of the questions I get asked in regards to creating characters is “how do you deal with the mindset of a villain?”

Certainly nobody enjoys going to a dark mental place where, we have to assume, a lot of nasty characters reside. Still, if you want to remain true to putting a human face on a villainous character, you have to give him or her a lot of thought.

My wonderful writing mentor Ronald Jacobs always advised me that the best adversaries in a plot are worthy adversaries. In order to make an adversary worthy, there should be a spark of humanity there, a reason why he does what he does. This way, the reader can relate somewhat with the antagonist and interest is created. The more human the villain is, the more impact he has.

Then I had the opportunity to talk with a famed forensic psychiatrist who stunned me with his answer to a question I asked him. Continue reading “Creating a Worthy Adversary”

9 Tips for Writing an Insane Character

tiana warnerGuest Post
by Tiana Warner

Nothing beats a good insane character. They’re unpredictable, obsessive, totally spellbinding … and hard to write. Their arcs and motivations can differ completely from ordinary characters. Saying you’re going to write an insane character, however, is like going to a steakhouse and ordering a beef and a wine. You need to get specific. There are about a million types of crazy.

I spent two years studying some of the best crazy characters in order to understand what works best. I even took a university class on abnormal psychology. (Yeah. I went there.) Through it all, I came up with nine ways to intensify the character. For those of you looking to lose your fictional marbles, let me share what I’ve learned. Continue reading “9 Tips for Writing an Insane Character”

Writers Are Ugly Actors

sophie jonas-hillGuest Post
by Sophie Jonas-Hill

If writers were better looking, they would be actors. Our skill set is very similar, they have to pretend to be a whole heap of different people, and so do we. In a way, we’re even more versatile because we don’t have the dead eye of the camera judging us and prescribing what we can be. We get to be anyone and everyone regardless of gender or ability or skin colour. Or we should be able to, anyway.

What ever character you’re working on, if they’re not coming to life then I’d heartily recommend taking a long look at the acting profession and try ‘being’ your character for a while, rather than writing them. Continue reading “Writers Are Ugly Actors”