Test Time

Plot is more than dramatic action. It involves having character emotional development, dramatic action and thematic significance. This is also known as how your protagonist acts or reacts. By doing these three things he or she is changed and something is learned. When stories get stuck it is likely that one of these three key elements has been ignored. One might concentrate on the action only, forgetting that character provides interest and is the primary reason people read books.

Organizing solely around the character can make one overlook the fact that dramatic action provides the thrill that each story needs. One might forget to develop the overall meaning of the story or the thematic significance. When the dramatic action changes the character at depth over time, the story becomes significant.

The Power of Character

In a story line, the characters grow and change in reaction to the dramatic action. This growth does not rely solely on a physical level. The challenges the characters face must create emotional effects, the deeper the better for reader. An effective way to do so is the use of a Scene Tracker. A scene tracker will ask you to fulfill seven essential elements in every single scene, with the biggest being focused on the character emotional development.

For example:

The Crisis: The crisis is an event in a scene that works like any crisis we may come across in our real life. Its job is to shake things up in such a way that the protagonist has to act. It takes on dramatic proportions when it is seen as the highest point in the dramatic action plot up to date in the story.

It has been fortunate for me so far that I have not gotten stuck yet. But knowing that there is a guideline of things that need to be included is a good thing to know. Plus it is a good tool to put my stories to the test and see if they have the three key elements that is needed. I can use it as a checklist of sorts to see if my works are well working. I need all the help I can get.

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Character Development Class Finished

Eight weeks ago I signed up for a Character Development class. I had taken this instructor before and had learned a lot from him. In the short span the following was taught:

-Character Development

-Creating Real Life Characters

-Bringing a Character to Life

-Characters creating the plot

-The Villain

-The Character/Inner Life

The last two weeks we concentrated on the story that was growing by each passing session. We had a story that had been created by groups and the overall story that as individuals we were nurturing.

By the time the class ended I had a story of over 5K words. It is in a genre that I have never truly tried before which is action and drama. Well not one of this length anyway. The critiques the class gave me on the last day when I read the WIP was favorable and I will probably when there is time, feel free to laugh here, to expand it into a novel.

This class has caused me much sorry and joy. I truly had a love hate relationship with it. There would be weeks where my teacher would say “ Yes yes you nailed it.” to “No, you missed the boat this time.”

I learned that there is so much more for me to discover. Also it showed me that there are some aspects that I am getting right. In the last eight weeks I have shared with you my class notes taken each time there was a lecture. I hope some of what was shared on this blog has helped someone along the way.

Telling him I would take this class again my instructor asked why. Simple answer really. Every time a class is taken over, I am starting at a different place with a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. I have never worked this hard for a writing class in my life. That is a good thing, right?

By doing so I had growth in my writing.

The Villain- Part 2

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Aspects- The writer should make the hero with character vulnerability and we should feel empathy/sympathy for them.  We need to connect on an emotional level so when the villain shows up we feel for the hero.  This draws interest to the protagonist.

By giving the protagonist danger and situations it helps us relate to them. Give them barriers, detours, step backs- just don’t make it easy for them.  The story does not have to have a happy resolution but it needs to be solved.

Do the following exercise for the villain you have in your story.

Writing Exercises for Part Two: Building Villains

1-Create a character who is an Antagonist, and explain why he or she fulfills that function.

2-Create a character who is an Influence Character, and explain why he or she fulfills that function.

3-Create a character and describe how you would make him or her the Second Most Central Character.

4-Create a character who is a Bad Guy and describe why.

5-Create a classic Villain type, and describe ow he or she is possesses of all four essential qualities of a Villain.

6-Turn this Villain character you have created into a non-villainous person, while maintaining his dramatic function as a Villain.

How to Create a Credible Villain in Fiction

Make your villain three-dimensional. Give the villain a back story or tell a part of the storm from his POV. You want the readers to get a clear picture of the villain and his evil nature.
Consider his motive. Fiction readers are not going to believe a villain who has no clear motive for his actions.  His motive can be something from his past or a conflict that arose between him and the hero.
Write the villain around his possible psychological profile. For example, if you want to make him a sociopath, give him characteristics that fit in with this depiction.

By doing this, your villain should be able to help your hero move the story along.