Motivating Characters Revisited

Like people characters need motivations, if a character has no motivation then they appear flat and unrealistic. We also have to remember that a character’s motivation might not be the one they are presenting to the world. A reoccurring one in literature is the person apparently motivated by love but secretly motivated by money or … Continue reading Motivating Characters Revisited


Building a Backstory Revisited

As we’ve discussed before there are a lot of people out there who will tell you that you have to know everything about a character before you begin, especially their backstory. This isn’t true, for some people working out the characters in-depth first works very well but not for all writers. As I keep saying … Continue reading Building a Backstory Revisited

Individualising the Individual Revisited

We discussed what a setting can say about a character and what their physical appearance can tell us about them but what else can we use to tell us about characters? There may be things about their sense of style or objects they have with them that can tell readers a little about their personality … Continue reading Individualising the Individual Revisited

Active, Not Reactive Revisited

Characters are actors in our stories and must be active, this doesn’t mean they can’t react to situations but this can’t be all they do. If characters only react they become passive and the story loses forward momentum. Consider stories such as Lord of the Rings, where the characters are reacting to the threat of … Continue reading Active, Not Reactive Revisited

Clarifying Character Revisited

This week we're looking at what we mean by active characters, how you don't need a complete backstory to begin, and we consider character arcs. Monday - Active, Not Reactive, Characters need to cause action, not simply react to it. Tuesday - Individualising The Individual, Everything about a character says something. Wednesday - Building a … Continue reading Clarifying Character Revisited

Mentioning Memory Revisited

The internal monologue can also be used to fill in backstory and introduce memories. I list the separately because we can fill in backstory without showing memories or we can show memories to fill in backstory. When I say ‘show memories’ I refer to flashbacks rather than simply telling the reader about the memory. For … Continue reading Mentioning Memory Revisited

Gap Between Thought and Truth Revisited

As we’ve already mentioned when we’re using internal monologue we don’t have to be entirely truthful, this can be the gap between truth and interpretation, a selective truth or even an outright lie. Internal monologue may be assumed to be the truth on the basis that it is the character’s thoughts, but if internal monologue … Continue reading Gap Between Thought and Truth Revisited

How’d You Like The Wallpaper? Revisited

As we mentioned before internal monologue can relate to the character’s surroundings, it can prompt opinion, memory and sensory experience. Alternatively we can use internal monologue to prompt description of the surroundings. Writers have told me that they struggle with describing settings that are familiar to the character even before the story starts because they … Continue reading How’d You Like The Wallpaper? Revisited

The Grand Scheme Revisited

Some characters always have a plan, they’re always working out the angles, whether trying to work out what people are really thinking, watching the exits or figuring out the next con. This can all be included in an internal monologue, not necessarily all at once but we can build up the reader’s knowledge of how … Continue reading The Grand Scheme Revisited

Therefore I Think… Revisited

As we previously discussed the internal monologue is our characters’ thoughts and feelings. A question we might face is how to get those on the page and the easiest way to work this out is to think about our own internal monologues, we don’t have to replicate that exactly because fiction is inherently artificial and … Continue reading Therefore I Think… Revisited