Conflict keeps a story moving and reveals a lot about the characters. There are three levels to the story. Inciting moment, conflict, and resolution. What sparked the problem, the fight, and how we clean up the mess. There are a few conflicts you can work with:
>> Inner conflict (inside the character)
>> Personal conflict (between characters)
>> Universal/societal conflict (characters versus fate/God/the system)
There are five major sources of conflict in a person’s life.
Keep these in mind when you are creating your characters conflicts and motivations. If, however, you have created something new- AWESOME. But you still need to use this as a motivation builder. All your characters need an agenda or goal. That gives them the driving force they need to get to the last page.
Goals and motivations? My goal is a fresh cuppa and my motivation is that I can see the bottom of my mug. It’s sad really. Let’s refill that sad cuppa and grab a nibble. I am having a chocolate rice cake. It tastes like Coco Puffs. Yummers. Give me sec while I grab my copy of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer from my bag. I hope you have picked up your own copy. There is still a lot to cover and it would benefit you to have your own. Okay, let’s get the reading rug out and settle in.
Characters and Motivation
The choices your characters make are based on their motivations. You eat when you are hungry. You sleep when you are tired. Motivations. For your characters to be real-real they need a reason to be.
Okay- I know you probably hate when I do this but…suck it up. Anyway, when I was writing O-B*tch-uary I had scenes with the husband and how he handled things. I wanted the reactions to be true, so I made my Hubs read the scenes. “I wouldn’t do it like that.” Cool! He would tell me how he would handle situations I created in the story. The best part was when he read the last few chapters. He hated me cuz I made him have feelings. Like all weepy and mad feelings. YES! Once you have created a strong motivation in your characters they begin to come to life. They may even take over the story.
Character Traits and Personalities
There are good guys and bad guys and good guys who turn bad and so on. Think about it like this, in someone’s life, you are the bad guy. No, really. I’m not gonna say you are bad, but you may have wronged someone many years ago. You may not even know it. You are also the hero in someone else’s life. Why not make a character with that level of realness. The example I can give is Dexter. The serial killer we rooted for. He was a guy who did horrible things, but he was also a guy you wanted to have a beer with. If you listen to the news and they talked to the friends and neighbors of killers, they tend to say the same things- “… nice guy. I had no clue they were doing that.”
We all want to believe we would know if someone was that horrible. We assume the ‘bad guy’ would just be mean and snarky and nasty and wear a dirty trench coat, but that’s not how it works. Dexter had a belief system. He didn’t kill people who were good. He killed super bad people. This detail is one of the reasons we liked him so much. It made him interesting. This shows the reader how traits can swing like a pendulum.
Study people. Everyone has a faith system. Everyone is different- figure out how your characters could be different from another. How does their ‘faith’ impact the story and its characters? This is all based on their belief systems. Keep them on this track. A creepy way to think about it is most serial killers follow a set of rules they made for themselves. They even choose their victims based on a specific outline. Profile your own characters.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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Universal Code for O-B*tch-uary: https://books2read.com/u/bOZe8o
Universal Code for Sin Full: http://books2read.com/u/m2Vdqd
Author Page: amazon.com/author/nellawarrent