Crafting Stories or Baking a Cake? I often compare the crafting of a story to cooking or baking. You have a set of ingredients, and when put together in just the right way, you end up with a delicious curry or the tastiest chocolate cake. If you miss an ingredient, the whole dish can taste different or not work at all.   The Character is the Main Ingredient With writing fiction, the main ingredient is character—all the active characters. To create a compelling story, you need the rest of the ingredients: the points of the hero’s journey the protagonist is on; the plot; the setting;  tone; mood; point of view; dialogue; and voice.  But, again, it really ALL comes down to character. Today we’re going to delve into one method of character development that’s fun and sort of a mix and match activity. One of the most important parts of creating fictional characters is making sure they’re realistic. One way …

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Types of Fictional Characters Teaching middle and high school language arts taught me a lot about the types of characters in fiction. I learned as much teaching as I did when I was in high school myself–and as an English major in college. Understanding the different types of characters and the roles they play in a story allows you to create a cast that supports the protagonist and enhances your story.    The Major Characters: These folks are the key players. Without them, the story doesn’t exist. They are: The Protagonist: This is the hero of the story. They will be your main point of view character. The protagonist is on a journey (a hero’s journey) and has an arc, which is completed by the end of the story. The Antagonist: This is the villain of the story. He or she is often seen as a shadow character of the hero’s. The antagonist presents conflicts for the hero.   The …

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Characters are at the Heart of the Story Characters are at the heart of every story. Without a strong hero, a book is often forgettable. This is why series are so popular. People come back not for whatever mystery or crime Stephanie Plum will be tackling, but because they love Stephanie herself. And Lula. And Grandma Mazur. And Joe. And Ranger. These characters become so familiar, it’s like they are our friends. Jack Reacher. Scrooge. Andy Carpenter. Atticus Finch. Sherlock Holmes. Willy Wonka. Miss Havisham. Bilbo Baggins. Gandalf. Harry Potter. These larger-than-life characters stick with us because they’re so brilliantly drawn. They have clear and strong personality traits and goals. Creating Larger-that-Life Characters Creating a larger-than-life character of your own. Start by making a few key decisions: Gender Identity Age One word to describe temperament (shy, boisterous, angry, compliant…) What does this character want more than anything? Make the stakes high!  Prompt: Write a scene which SHOWS what your character …

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