So I had a 10 post series planned out for this great blogging experiment on characters, inspired by Elana Johnson. I spent hours revising them and choosing each and every precious word. I slaved. My eyes bled ink.
And then I saw over 100 people had signed up and will be posting about characters. That’s a lot of posts. So I decided to sum up the series and make this short.
To be compelling, a character needs to be flawed and proactive. His or her flaw should be behind the decision-making and thus drive the plot. We don’t want the characters passive and just reacting to the events happening around him/her (no matter how exciting the events are).
Okay, so I had two (flawed and proactive). Now check out the other posts and learn how to create rockin’ characters.
I had issues with the proactive thing when I first started writing. You might be able to ignore that “rule” some in literary fiction, but in genre stuff you’re right, proactive is a must.
Flawed seems to be a consistent theme, but your proactive brings up a terrific point too.
Flaws and they need to interact with their world. Got it. Thanks. =D
Spot-on advice… this is the third or fourth blog so far I’ve gotten to read and the advice has all been great reminders. I’m breakin’ out the notebook!
By the way… nice to meet you!
Very good advice, Laura. Perfect is boring! Plus people waiting for others to help them is boring too!
yes, proactive. IThat’s a great point. We want our characters to have drive.
Succinct, to the point and great advice. Good job. Being proactive is SUCH a big key.
Yes, I agree! Real but not perfect, with a good range of characteristics for memorable and effective characters.
Short and sweet and incredibly poignant. Great post! I love the idea of a character’s flaw driving the plot. Oh, yeah, that’s good stuff right there.
Perfect! Proactive is so important. Nothing worse than reacting all the time. And perfect is boring!
Yes, being flawed and proactive are both important. Proactive is an interesting point because we can’t just write about characters who have stuff happen to them; they have to make decisions and do things.
Great post! 🙂 I feel that characters are the stuff every day people hide. We want to relate to them and know that they are just like us. Flawed. Thank you for participating!
Come and visit me!
Hi Laura! You raised a very good point, something I never thought of when I wrote my post on this one – being proactive!
I love your profile pic and description, too! It made me smile! 🙂 I’m now following you! 🙂
Short and sweet and so true! I don’t mind if a character is passive at first, but if all s/he does is react, it doesn’t make for much of a story.
No passive characters! Great point. I hate it when a character is just a leaf in the wind, blown about by events. He or she needs to turn around and push back against that wind and take active steps throughout the plot.
Short and perfect advice! I agree with Anna, in that I don’t mind if the hero/heroine is reluctant at first, but they have to jump in quickly. The idea that their flaw is what drives them forward is wonderful and intriguing. I’m not sure if I do that with my characters, and I think I need to work on that.
Bravo! When I wrote in my younger days, my characters were not proactive. My stories sucked and I didn’t know why. So instead of writing about people like me, I now write about kicka** protags. Important points to remember!
Powerful and short. I love this simplicity of proactive and flawed. It gets straight to the heart of what counts.
Short and to the point…I love it! Thanks, Laura.
Yay! Build proactive characters is a great point that I often overlook. Thanks for giving me something to keep in my toolbox. 🙂
You are so right! I read a book recently in which the main character never made a decision and was just carried along by an exciting plot. It drove me nuts!!!
Great, short advice – something I *know*, but sometimes forget to employ. I definitely have scenes where my character passively “experiences” something that could/should be a major issue!
Short, sweet, and absolutely true.