A Writing Life: Great Characters Make Great Stories

Monday, October 31, 2016

Great Characters Make Great Stories

I'm a firm believer that great stories begin with great characters. If I read a book that has an interesting plot, but I don't care about the people in the story, or I don't connect with them in any way, I stop reading.

There are some stories that are plot driven and are written beautifully. But for me, the people are where it counts.

When I start a new novel, I always start with the people. Who are my hero and heroine? What do they like or dislike? Why do they like or dislike those things? I even get down to the kind of car they drive and what their favorite beverage is. Why? Because the smallest details are what make up a person. Their personality is what causes them to choose certain things, their experiences as well.

I get a picture in my head first of what my characters look like, then I have some fun on Pinterest finding a similar image and create a board for that book. https://www.pinterest.com/lmvanhulzen/
My dear writer friends. If there as ever a time to be on Pinterest, character sketching is it.

I have a background in journalism so I like to interview my characters. My interview worksheet looks something like this...

I also think through their Goal, Motivation and Conflicts. I keep Debra Dixon's book close by as I write...  http://amzn.to/2fnHDFw

I also write out what external and internal things make my characters do what they do, say what they say.

A fun part about writing novels is that I may go into writing the story with an idea of who my characters are, but as I write, they evolve and come up with ideas and interests I never thought of before. But I firmly believe that if you start with great characters you'll end up with a great story.

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