August 5th, 2014

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Writing Excuses 9.32: Adjusting Character Proactivity

Writing Excuses 9.32: Adjusting Character Proactivity

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/08/03/writing-excuses-9-32-adjusting-character-proactivity/

Key Points: Three-pronged character development: sympathy, competence, and proactivity make engaging characters. Characters need to protag, to move the story forward and act. Satisfied protagonists are inactive! Beware the villain problem, where the hero only acts because the villain is ruining things. Make sure your character plans, even if those plans get disrupted. Let them make choices. Sometimes having multiple antagonists or obstacles helps. Make sure your character wants something at the start of the story. Sometimes they may be satisfied, but something is missing. Protaging is having choices, making decisions, and spending effort to do it. If there is no action, time does not pass in the universe of your book. Give your character an opportunity to walk away, but choose to stay and act makes them protagy. Having a higher stake in the plot increases proactivity. Make it personal to the character. When a character loses their resources and friends, then takes action -- that's protaging!
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[Brandon] All right. Let's go ahead and have our writing prompt, which Howard is going to provide for us.
[Howard] Okay. This is going to sound a little bit like one of those classic melodrama movies from the 30s. Take your hero and tie him up so he is physically immobile. All he or she can do is talk. With nothing but words, have this person be proactive and protag their way out of the situation they're in.
[Brandon] Excellent. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
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