Getting to Know You

Friday, March 25, 2011
I'd like to take this moment to thank everyone who stopped by to critique my first 250 words of Shimmering Angels. I feel like every piece of input helped me polish it up a little more.

In Friday news, I am currently writing my fingers to the bone. For the first time in a long time I'm trying my hand at a short story and I'm really loving my MC's voice. She's driving me forward, hinting at her personality and her flaws, but right now I'm missing her goals. I could go with something easy, like she just wants to be normal, but I'm digging deeper. There's something inside her that she doesn't even know she wants yet.

Where am I going with this, you ask?

If you're a writer, you've probably heard this combination before: Goal, Motivation, Conflict. This threesome and I are no strangers.

Goals. To truly understand your characters you have to know what they want so desperately--and what they're willing to sacrifice for it. And to write a great book, you have to test these theories, strip away everything your characters hold dear, and flip their world on its ear.

Motivation. Understand why your character wants this, and show--not tell us about--it. Why does your thirty year old villain still suck his thumb when things don't go his way? Could it hint to a tramatic childhood event? Or could he simply enjoy making his rivals think this? Use this strange action to throw your hero off, or create empathy?

Conflict. Now that you know what your character wants and why they want it, twist the knife. Your hero and heroin have a strategic plan in place. Why let everything go smoothly when it's so much more fun to throw a wrench in the cogs? Add a little conflict. The villain knows your hero and heroin are coming and has his own trap ready. Or maybe hero plans to express his feelings to heroin, but heroin (thanks to her own goals and motivations) tells hero she's been lying to him and instead of just wanting villain dead, she needs to reclaim her husband's soul which is lost somewhere inside the villain's hideout.

Now we're getting somewhere. See what I mean about conflict adding more?

Now I'm off to create my own conflict.


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