June 18th, 2014

ISeeYou2

Writing Excuses 9.25: Adjusting Character Sympathy

Writing Excuses 9.25: Adjusting Character Sympathy

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/06/15/writing-excuses-9-25-adjusting-character-sympathy/

Key points: How sympathetic should a character be, and how do you adjust that? Why not sympathetic? Balance competence, or give them room to grow. To make another character more sympathetic by comparison. Changing sympathy levels makes characters feel more rounded. How do you adjust sympathy level? Distance -- in the head is more sympathetic. Far away, lower sympathy. Funny, humor, wit. Self-awareness. Weakness, fatal flaw. Things that we admire. Competence and proactive. Another character interacting. Niceness! Pet a puppy, save a kitten. Failure -- trying hard, but losing. Being beaten. Beware too proactive, too competent, may push us away. Mix humor and vulnerability in. To make someone unsympathetic? Do the opposite. Selfishness, invulnerable, always right, lack of self-awareness. Remove trust by sidekick (careful, may backfire). An important story arc starts with a sympathetic character, then has them lose that, and in the climax, regain your sympathy.
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[Brandon] All right. Mary, you have our writing prompt.
[Mary] Yes. This time it's actually not so much about the sympathy thing. I want you to take something that you have written recently and swap out all of the dialogue with words... With completely different words. You're not allowed to reuse any of the same words, except I'll grant you articles and pronouns.
[Brandon] Okay. Very nice of you. All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
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