October 22, 2012

Rain Rain Go Away

Let me start by saying... when it rains, it pours.

The last two months have been terrible, but since I'm certain everything I could write about it could be topped by someone else's trials, I'm just going to keep my mouth shut.

Instead, I wanted to get back into blogging with a quick post on THREE DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS.

I have tried for a long time to put up a facade that I am a writer and not a Vulcan/nerdy math/science kind of person so it's always harder for me to make believable characters than to fix plot issues.

While creating character charts for my current novel, I asked myself the following question:

Is there a character from another book that would do a better job "acting" if given the role as the MC?

My first thought was that this would be an easy experiment and that I was going to find that my favorite characters were the protagonists of my favorite books. 

Not so.

 As it turns out, I'm pretty willing to overlook two-dimensional characters as long as there is a page-turning plot, and so I had a hard time creating a list of characters I would enjoy reading about in ANY setting.

Once I found a winner, the question now becomes:

How would the story be different if [Han Solo/Princess Leia] were replaced as the MCs?

Keeping the answer in mind, my goal is to make my characters lovable in any setting and not just the one I originally wrote for them to star in.

Please add your own tips in the comments! I really appreciate them all!


  1. Characters always come first for me. Maybe you can give me tips on plot instead!

  2. I'm a plot person too. I can forgive a lot if the plot is clever, which probably explains why I love spy thrillers and have a hard time with romance.

  3. I personally wanna know how it's going in your life.

  4. You mean I have to worry about character AND plot?!

  5. I agree that I can overlook character development if the plot is fast-paced, but I do LOVE the books with the great characters. You really need both.

  6. First off, i know this is late but i LOVE the new site!!!
    And this is such a genius way of looking at characterization! What a great excercise!

  7. Those are interesting questions to ask about a story. And I'm the same with creating 3-dimensional characters--I prefer fixing plot over analyzing character arcs/development.

  8. Love those questions! I've heard of making brand new characters "answer" those, but I've never thought about existing characters that way. Great suggestion!

    So sorry things have been tough. I hope they get better soon.

  9. Can I tell you, oddly, somewhere in the back of my mind when I'm outlining characters, the gang from Star Wars is never too far from my mind. Their arcs were so authentic, my goal continues to develope them in a similar believable fashion.