February 18th, 2015

BrainUnderRepair

Writing Excuses 10.7: Who Are All These People?

Writing Excuses 10.7: Who Are All These People?

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/02/15/writing-excuses-10-7-who-are-all-these-people/

Key points: How do you create multiple characters and keep them distinctive from one another? Beware of redundancy! Answer the question: Who needs to be in the story for the plot to move forward? Spear carriers are okay for scenery, but who needs a SAG card? More characters make the scene and story longer! Consider adding characters who are hindrances, problems. Also, think about which roles need to be real people. Why are they here, how are they important to the plot, and what do they want? Why does this person want to be in this role? (From method acting, what's my motivation?) Characters need conflict and desires outside of the plot. Try for economy of characterization. Some good dialogue, a character in a scene. Individual reactions to main characters. Don't let the what the secondary character wants take over the story. But also, don't make the secondary characters only focus on the main characters. Watch for side characters that represent an entire culture or society. Remember, all aliens are not ET, nor are they Ripley's nightmare creatures.
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[Brandon] Mary, you have our writing exercise?
[Mary] Right. So in the first of our character episodes, we asked you to write a scene using three different characters. Going to a marketplace and doing a dead drop. This time, I want you to pick one of those characters. They are now the secondary character in this scene. You're going to pick a secondary character from that scene that you wrote...
[Brandon] Right. Someone that they asked for directions or someone... Whatever happened in your scene. If no one else spoke, pick one of the spear carriers.
[Mary] Right. That is now your pro... Your point of view character. Again, we want to make sure that they are well-rounded. So they need to have something at stake, and something that they want. And as you're doing this, it's the same scene, so you can't change any of the main character action. All you're changing is the point of view character. So you're just watching the same action from someone else's point of view.
[Brandon] Yes. You're going to write a parallel story to one of the three that you did last time.
[Dan] You have to make sure that the character whose point of view that you're using has a personality, has something they want. Because otherwise, this is just narration.
[Howard] Oh, the main character is so dreamy as he does this dead drop.
[Brandon] All right.
[Howard] Probably not what you want to write.
[Brandon] Yes, yes, yes. Unless the main character is Howard. Then...
[Howard] You went there. Thanks.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
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