March 13th, 2014

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Writing Excuses 9.10: Engaging Characters

Writing Excuses 9.10: Engaging Characters

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/03/09/writing-excuses-9-10-engaging-characters/

Key points: sympathetic and engaging are different, but not mutually exclusive. Getting into the character's thought processes, understanding why they make choices, is part of being engaging. Some wit or sense of humor. Doing the unexpected is a critical element. Heroes often are boring because they do the expected, while villains are always trying new things. The process of learning new, interesting things to create a story can be reflected in engaging characters who are learning, too. Things that interest and engage you are good for engaging characters. Often side characters are witty and engaging, while the main characters are bland. Sometimes the person in a character's head is very different from the external view. Character quirks should not be standalone oddities, but part of how the character thinks and what the story is about. Character quirks should connect to actions. Random character generation, five different things taken from a list, can help avoid homogenous characters, but for causality, why does this character have these quirks?
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[Brandon] So, Nancy, can you spin this or something we talked about into a writing prompt?
[Nancy] Oh, absolutely. I want you to take a character, put them in a difficult situation, and throw away your first three ideas of how they respond.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. A special thanks to Nancy for being on these four episodes with us.
[Howard] And thank you to Germany.
[Nancy] Absolutely.
[Brandon] For sending you along. Please check out her work. You all are out of excuses. Now go write.
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