The greatest of these is love bitgood veterinarian
Chuck is the author of the published novels: He also the author of the soon-to-be-published novels: Also coming soon is his compilation book of writing advice from this very blog: Much of his writing advice has been collected in various writing- and storytelling-related e-books. Because some characters read like cardboard. Sure, the characters run around and they do shit and say shit but none of it has anything to do with character and has everything to do with plot — as if the characters are just another mechanism the greatest of these is love bitgood veterinarian get to the next action sequence, the next plot point, the next frazza wazza wuzza buzza whatever.
The character should run an advertising agency. But fine, yes, okay, I get it now. The character makes decisions and is attempting to control her own destiny as an independent operator within the story.
She is not a leaf in the stream but rather the rock that breaks the river. They are motivated by these desires and requirements and they spend an entire story trying to fulfill them.
We need to know what impels a character. What are her motives? You shall be cruel. But Steve is allergic to raccoons! Or how to get all the things they want.
Hey, external conflict is pretty cool, too. If the character is plagued by the greatest of these is love bitgood veterinarian old war wound, a damaged spaceship, a mysterious old villain who shows up to perform surgical karate on the character, all good.
With no basis in reality. Characters need connections to other characters. They can be connections that the character is actively trying to deny. But they need to be there. They help make the character who the greatest of these is love bitgood veterinarian is and continue to push and pull on her as the story unfolds. We respond well to those characters who contain a little bit of us.
The best characters are a broken mirror: The reader wants a new story, but she wants an old story, too: Shitty one-note characters are a Taco Bell product: Great characters are a nuanced meal: Each bite has complexity.
Real people who are not easily summed up or predicted. Real people with layers and surprises and who are a little bit good and a little bit bad and a whole lotta interesting. It can be intellectual or emotional. Sherlock is an amazing detective, and a terrible human. When you write her dialogue, we should have no doubt who is speaking, even if the dialogue tags were eaten by some kind of bibliovore creature. What kinds of things does she say? Why does she say them?
What does she sound like? Does her way of speaking reflect where she grew up or reflect her trying to get away from where she grew up? Is she brash and bold — or hesitant, reserved? How do all these things reflect who she actually is? Some writing advice suggests that an author let her characters act the greatest of these is love bitgood veterinarian physical ciphers — zero description so that, jeez, I dunno, we can all imprint upon them or imagine them as whoever we want them to be.
Fuck that shit, George. And let those details reveal to us something about the character, too. The perfect suit but the dirty shoes. The hair buzzed so flat you could land a chopper on top of it.
The rime of blood under his nails. A character without emotion is a soulless automaton. And the thing is, you can use these the greatest of these is love bitgood veterinarian responses to highlight for us who the characters are. We continue reading sometimes just to answer questions. Who stole the Shih-Tzu of Darkness and for what nefarious purpose? Thing is, the audience and the characters have a kind of narrative quantum entanglement; the same things that draw us through a story are the same things that urge a character forward, too.
We want to solve the murder same as the cantankerous detective does. Give the character questions that are unanswered — variables in her equation that she is driven to complete.
It goes the other way, too. The moment a character loses the ability to surprise us, they might as well be a dead body floating down a slow moving river. Now I own a parrot! Think of it like the reveal of a murderer in a murder-mystery story.
When they reveal something about themselves or surprise us, it should be a thing that has us nodding our head — not scratching it like a confused chimp. That time Billy Grosbeak tried to grab her boob and she broke his nose. That time the greatest of these is love bitgood veterinarian did the thing with the girl at that place. What we see of a character in a story is just the tippy-top of the iceberg, just a nipple poking out of the water while the rest of the body remains submerged.
Characters grow and change. Okay, fine — not all of them do, an in certain modes of storytelling a stagnant flatlining character arc is sadly a feature and not a bug. Readers want to go on that journey with a character.
They want to go along for the ride: Some animals grow only as big as their cages — so give your character room to move around, yeah? Envision for them an incomplete arc! They have to be someone we can — and want! How do you accomplish this? You do this by giving them gravity.
Making them as big and as interesting as can be so they draw us to them — like moths to a flame, like meteors to the earth, like cat hair to a new sweater. A good character needs you.
You are a very special ingredient indeed, young captain. See, the idea goes that no story is original, and maybe that translates to character, too. You can bring something fucking amazing to every character you write: You are the puppeteer. You are parent and deity. And then kick their ass.
September 11, at They need to be interesting. I can think of multiple characters that are interesting while having next to no relatable qualities.
May 11, at 2: February 23, at 7: This is nonsense because, if we could control our destiny, it would be destiny. Control and destiny do not belong in the same sentence. Fiction is full of similar nonsense advice, slogans and what not. You cannot control your destiny. April 18, at 4: But…in this you are God. They have the illusion of agency. October 28, at 8: July 15, at 7: July 25, at 2: I was actually taking notes then I got to number 16, and I almost wrote it down.
I guess I need to pay more attention. January 3, at 8: April 24, at 7: I found your list ivaluable. When I tried to print the article out, my copy got overwritten.