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Writing Excuses Transcripts

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Writing Excuses 10.8: Q&A on Character
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mbarker wrote in wetranscripts
Writing Excuses 10.8: Q&A on Character

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/02/22/writing-excuses-10-8-qa-on-character/

Questions and Answers:
Q: How do you have a character grow in power or expertise without making the villain ridiculous trying to compete with them?
A: Reverse engineer it. Start the character at a lower level, and let them grow.
Q: How do you give a flawed character a growth arc without fundamentally changing what made them likable in the first place?
A: Beware of making a character unlikable to start. Also watch for giving the character multiple flaws. Let the character retain some of their flaw, just get better at managing it. Use different growth.
Q: When you have a first-person POV character, how do you convey the character arcs and emotional complexity of supporting characters since you can't see their thoughts and they have lives offscreen?
A: You live a first-person life, and yet you know your friends have emotional complexity and arcs. You are aware of other's lives -- convey that! Show your character's reaction to them. Make sure everything is not about the main character. Let your main character learn something they never knew about the side characters.
Q: How do you create an interesting and engaging story with a main character who is not the protagonist?
A: Main character, protagonist, action character, hero -- think of different roles. Think about Watson. Beware of making the character just an observer. Make sure they have agency and motivation.
Q: How can a novice or beginning writer tell when a plot is driving his character instead of the other way around, and how can you prevent this?
A: Best way to spot this is readers. Keep in mind what the character wants.
Q: How do you write a character with offensive views or attributes without offending or alienating your audience? Basically, how do you divide a character's views from your author views?
A: Have other characters point it out. Have the character catch themselves. Let other character model other behavior, and responses. Expose inconsistencies by having two or more groups argue about it. Show repercussions to the reader, even if the characters don't notice.
Q: How do you write believable characters that have, for example, a different religion or age or gender than you?
A: Forums! See what people really say. Make their arguments, not strawman ones. Get alpha readers from that group. Research and checking with people.
Q: What are some tips and tricks for writing a sympathetic antagonist?
A: A puppy. Rational argument for their beliefs, and make sure they want something plausible.
All my children...Collapse )
[Brandon] You are awesome. Dan has our writing exercise.
[Dan] Okay. So this writing exercise, as always, if you haven't been following along and you're coming in new, you can just do this, kind of tweak it to your own purposes. But if you have been following along all month, we've been doing writing exercises about a scene with a dead drop in a marketplace. What your goal is now, getting ready for structure next month, is you're going to look at that scene and then sketch out... You don't have to write them, just sketch out what's going to happen in the scene immediately before and immediately after that dead drop in the marketplace.
[Brandon] Yeah. Everybody's been somewhere and is going someplace. Knowing that is the first step to creating a good structure. This has been Writing Excuses, you're out of excuses, now go write.