January 3rd, 2012

Fireworks Delight
  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 7.1: When Good Characters Go Bad

Writing Excuses 7.1: When Good Characters Go Bad

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2012/01/01/writing-excuses-7-1-when-good-characters-go-bad/

Key Points: Why? Character change -- redemption or falling -- interests us! Also, fall and realization is cathartic. Plus, this can set up concern for the other characters. To start, show us their starting state, normal and good, and the choice that starts them down the path. Motivation and slippery slope. Dividing line or shades of gray? Don't tell the reader where the line is, let them decide. Does the character think they have crossed the line? Have they slowly eased over it, or been pushed to the edge and snapped? Does the gradual slip have a moment of realization? What about realizing that the rules, the code, itself is wrong? Consider the tragic flaw, and the archetype of the hero who falls from grace. Is this an Everyman falling? Remember that even villains are heroes of their own story. Make sure your character is motivated, and that the fall is foreshadowed. Use that anticipation.
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[Howard] Perfect. You know what, I'm just going to build this off of the last comment I made. Come up with a list of three things that are very, very important to your main character that are all in alignment. Now, outline yourself some circumstances where one of those things is now out of alignment and can drive your character from the protagonist's side into darkness and eventual oblivion.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.