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

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

Getting Characters Thinking Revisited

This week we're considering how we can get our characters thinking in internal monologues whether it's considering the environment, coming up with plots or playing narrative sleight of hand. Monday - Therefore I Think, when they're trying to figure someone or something out. Tuesday - The Grand Scheme, when your character's got a plan. Wednesday … Continue reading Getting Characters Thinking Revisited

Breaking the Fourth Wall Revisited

When we talk about ‘breaking the fourth wall’ what we mean is when a character directly addresses a reader/audience. Recent examples would include Deadpool and House of Cards, it’s also a technique often used in theatre to externalise a character’s internal monologues, such as the soliloquies in Shakespeare. While we might associate it with television, … Continue reading Breaking the Fourth Wall Revisited

Stream of Consciousness Revisited

When people think of internal monologue they tend to think of a first person narration or a Dickensian third person which is the authorial voice relaying the character’s voice. A third type is the stream of consciousness, in which thoughts are relayed as they are 'thought'. It can be choppy and disconnected or a direct … Continue reading Stream of Consciousness Revisited

Being in The Know Revisited

The primary problem of the internal monologue is how much we have our character’s tell the reader versus how much we let the reader infer from their actions. When we’re writing a first draft it’s best not to think too hard about this and simply write it all out and edit it later. In a … Continue reading Being in The Know Revisited