June 26th, 2014

ISeeYou2

Writing Excuses 9.26: Adjusting Character Competence

Writing Excuses 9.26: Adjusting Character Competence

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/06/22/writing-excuses-9-26-adjusting-character-competence/

Key Points: Three sliders: sympathetic, competent, and proactive. Today is competency. Competency makes a character more sympathetic -- we like to see "can do" people. But too much competence may make it hard to find conflict. Start low, and show progress, difficulties, and conflicts. Push characters out of the realms where they are competent. If a character is competent over here, and incompetent over there, over there is seen as difficult. Great characters have something you admire about them, an area where they are competent. Heist formula usually has a mixture of competencies working together. Showing other characters failing can demonstrate a character's competence. To raise the bar, give your character a good antagonist. Show failure! Put them in a new realm. To increase competence, use try-fail cycles. Moving the bar can be a plot, a character arc. Try having the character transfer expertise in another area into this new area.
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[Brandon] All right. Let's go and have a writing prompt which I have come up with. I want you to take a very minor side character in a story you're working on, and make them hyper competent in something and see how that changes your story. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
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