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.

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Critique Form


My instructor passed out a form for us to critique the work of others.

I thought we could pass this form to our beta readers. They can use it as a guideline. We could use it ourselves and see if we are spotty in some areas. Each section is worth five points for a total of 20 points.

Plot

-Attention needs to be paid to plot development

-The story lacks credibility in places

-Good start/good ideas but loses direction and force

-The story holds interest throughout but the ending is disappointing

-Flows smoothly,well researched, almost there

-This is a well-crafted story and it is clear that the author has considered all the aspects of the plot

Characterization

-The characters do not always come over as real people

-Told from the viewpoint of too many characters, so that the readers learns little about them

-In general, the characters are believable , although there is room for improvement

-The characters are well drawn and true to life/does the character have an inner life

-Strong characterization means that the reader’s sympathies are instantly engaged.

Pace

-The story starts slowly

-The story needs a more varied pace

-Side-issues slow the story down

-In general, the story moves well, although there are times when interest wavers

-A good pace is maintained throughout

-This story’s page-turning quality is excellent

Dialogue

-The characters all tend to speak with the same voice

-Some attention should be given to the dialogue, which does not always ring true

-Although the dialogue is believable, there are places where it serves no obvious purpose

-In general, the dialogue sounds authentic

-the sharply written dialogue reveals much about the characters

-The dialogue is excellent, adding a sparking dimension to the story

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.