July 31st, 2013

Burp

Writing Excuses 8.30: Writing Reluctant Characters

Writing Excuses 8.30: Writing Reluctant Characters

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2013/07/28/writing-excuses-8-30-writing-reluctant-characters/

 Key Points: Not everybody is a go-getter! What about characters who are not self-motivated, or characters going through rough emotional times? How can you write about these weak and reluctant characters and still be interesting? Give them a goal, but not one related to the problem they are facing. Use the character arc, with change in the character from reluctant and repeatedly failing as they face the situation until they must change and become proactive. Think about why they are reluctant. Reluctant or weak character is satisfied with their role, but events force them out of their comfort zone. Focus on what makes it comfortable, and what they fear will happen. Sometimes the peaceful life is the carrot, that they want to get back to. Avoid whining! Give the weak character a sufficient and compelling reason to break out of their comfort zone. Put someone they love in danger. Also, have the weak character use the tools they have intelligently. Another point -- give your character a good reason to be reluctant.
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[Brandon] We are completely out of time on this podcast. But, Mary, I believe, has a writing prompt for us.
[Mary] Yeah. So what... One of the things that we've been talking about in this is that the... Your character is going to have a point where they have to decide to step up to the plate. So figure out... What I want you to do is create a character who is either weak or reluctant, figure out why they are weak or reluctant, and then write the decision point that they have to make. Do that using the tools that we've talked about. If they're a weak character, figure out what skill sets they have and how they can bring them to bear on the decision point. If they're a reluctant character, figure out why they're reluctant and what is that triggers that. Write that so that we can see that moment.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
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