Friday, February 10, 2012

Your Characters? You Have to Go All In

Any author needs to fully invest in the characters he or she creates. Your characters have to walk with you when you are away from your computer, and then they are ready to be unveiled during your writing sessions. It's a strange relationship between reality and fiction, but one that is vital to character creation.

On that note, I encountered a bit of problem in starting my newest novel. It has an entertaining opening chapter, and there are good following chapters that fill in gaps in my main character's basic psychological makeup. But as I wrote, I didn't have that connection ... that deep conviction ... that is required.

That has changed. Why? It's a basic fact of writing fiction: Protagonists need antagonists. My first chapter centers on just such a meeting between protagonist and antagonist, but that conflict is resolved by the end of the chapter. The protagonist then slips in what seems like comfortable surroundings, all safe and secure. The story line doesn't sag, but it doesn't have that edge that threat provides. About a quarter of the way through the book, new antagonists emerge ... one in particular is quite driven and focused. My protagonist is threatened ... and my investment starts to become complete.

Now I hang on his every move and decision, and those of the secondary characters and the antagonist. I have gathered all my main and secondary characters in one general location, and I will begin to criss-cross paths and unveil new threats and reach a finale. Now I am enthused about seeing what they will face, and I am itching to get to the keyboard and let the story play out.

There's no better time to start than now. Talk to you later.

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