Character Traits and Personalities
Let’s talk extremes. Can extreme be bad? Duh- let’s think for a second. If you have a character that is overly loyal, they could become obsessed with the MC. Love can even turn sour. The term for this is called ‘stalking.’ I may have had one or two of these over the years. Geesh. These could be interesting subplots or that twist you have been looking for. Emotional subplots can help keep your readers interested to see how it all pans out.
Emotional…? This section seems perfect right now. My emotions are all over the map. I think the pandemic has just sucked all the happy out of my world. I haven’t written (on my book) in nearly a month. My creativity has decided to take a vacation and didn’t bother to invite me. Jerk. But I still have coffee and to prove it, I am going to go refill my cuppa with caramel coffee. Want some? I will gladly share with you. I need all the friends I can get right now. Come on.
Grab a nibble out of the cabinet while I roll out the reading rug. Give me a sec while I run the vacuum over it really quick. Zach got cupcake crumbs all over it the other day. Gross, I know. He didn’t even offer to share. Rude. Anyway– hurry up and grab your copy of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer. We are on page 100.
Back to Heavy Emotions.
The emotional subplot isn’t easy to do. There are several things you must do to make it work.
#1. Your subplot cannot take away attention from the main storyline.
#2. It must end before the main story does. The main story needs the final dramatic scene.
#3. The subplot should assist the main story. It should add to the plot. The example given is a detective is working a case and going through a divorce. The divorce would be the subplot and how it lingers in the detective’s mind. It adds to his mental struggle all while working to solve a case.
This is the battle of show-vs-tell. It ain’t easy. Most (people and characters) are unaware of the reasons for their actions. People tend to do things to fulfill unsatisfied needs. Here’s some help on trying to figure out how to show these things in your story.
#1. Physiological: Basic needs- air, food, sleep, and water. To sustain life.
#2. Safety: Security and stability in the chaos of life.
#3. Social: The need to belong. Not feeling loneliness or alienation.
#4. Ego: The need for self-esteem, and recognition.
#5. Self-actualization: The need for fulfillment.
Much of these details can be backstory. What happened before the story you are writing began? How did their bad childhood effect their actions in the current storyline? Now, I am not going to go through each aspect of the psychology of writing your characters. That is why I tell you to buy the book. Mr. Mayer breaks down each bullet point on the next few pages. But I won’t.
Remember that your protagonist is only as good as the antagonist is bad. – Bob Mayer
That is a powerful statement. Your antagonist needs a strong motivation just as your protagonist does. Why would they fight if they didn’t have a reason? Some of the most powerful stories have equal motivations. The antagonist doesn’t even have to be evil they just simply don’t agree with the protagonist. Think it through. Don’t assume they are evil. Make your antagonist real.
Less is Better
Info dumps are bad. Do NOT introduce a character and then fill the next 6 pages with who they are and how they fit into the plot. This is a slow drip situation. Feed us this information over the course of the story. Show me, don’t tell me. Yes, you as the writer, must know everything about your characters. You can create a little notebook for just the creation of characters, but the reader does not need to know all of it. At least not up front. Mystery is intriguing and a reason to keep turning the page.
The suggestion is to create your characters like you are meeting a person for the first time. As you try to get to know ‘a new friend,’ you slowly learn details about them. You don’t show up with the mindset of doing a Q & A. Make your first meeting memorable enough your reader wants to be their friend too.
Wow- friends. That is what I was talking about earlier. I am so happy that I am going away this weekend with 3 of my awesome-sauce friends. I am in need of this in ways you can’t understand.
How are you? How are you handling this pandemic and lock down? Are you keeping in contact with people in your life? Do you need a friend to chat with? I’m here.
Please reach out to people. Keep in contact. You may be the reason someone got out of bed this morning.
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