Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Putting Your Character In Hot Water

For characters to have everything going their way doesn't make for interesting reading. Give them inadequacies. What areas of their life are they vulnerable? Problems are found in the areas of character development. These areas are Physical, Environment, Experiences and View of the world.

We've all seen beautiful women or handsome men who don't believe they are as others see them. Some of these people carry their views of their body to extremes but those aren't the characters we want to focus on at least for heroes and heroines. We want those with characteristics that give them a vulnerability. Like the woman who hates her straight hair and wants curls. What you need to look at is the reason behind why they want to change their body or why they think their physical appearance doesn't suit them. Perhaps her friend Mary always received favorable remarks about her curls. Maybe our heroine's mother tried to give Susy curls and failed. There are always underlying reasons for the character to feel inadequate in some area.

As to the environment. Where a child grows up will work on them giving them a feeling of inadequacy. Say he grew up in a mansion and was pampered and he feels lost when he must move from this area. Or the farmboy coming to the city might find he feels lost. This gives a vulnerability the writer can use to effect and make the character seem alive.

How about the character's experiences in life? Think of the abused child, the pampered one. Think about what your character has experienced in life. Develop a story where the hero or heroine must move out of their area of experience. How do they handle something that seems foreign to what they have always known.

The last is the view of the world. This is showing how the character reacts to others. He or she may be one person with friends who hold the same view of the world. Throw the character into a group with different ideas of what's right and wrong and you have a place to show their inadequacies.

So give your characters problems and there is room for inner conflicts that may be at cross purposes with the outer conflicts and you have characters who move off the page.


Melissa Keir said...

I have a recent character who doesn't believe she is beautiful or sexy because her ex husband constantly put her down.

Calisa Rhose said...

Great tips. I love heroines and heroes who don't see themselves as they really are. :)