Tag Archives: characters

Why do characters… #3: Why are bad characters (villains) so much fun?

Protagonists are all very well. You pick a central character whose story you will tell, you get into their head, you understand his or her point of view.  A protagonist like that generally has to carry the spear for the … Continue reading

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Why do characters…#2: Why do characters lie?

  The Big Lie The Unreliable Narrator is a character who tells the reader a story which cannot be entirely trusted, or taken at face value. The narrator might be deliberately deceptive, or they may be telling a perfectly reasonable … Continue reading

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Writer Club Rules: Truth is No Excuse

That’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, that truth is no excuse for fiction. I’ve had students who want to fictionalize a real story and then have found themselves floundering because true things are often too unbelievable to work … Continue reading

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Kindness in Fictional Characters

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” — Mark Twain As I read these words, I am reminded of what William Penn, Quaker and namesake of Pennsylvania, said: “Let us then try what … Continue reading

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Characters Hurling Insults For Fun and Profit

How many times has a discussion escalated into an argument, or an argument into violence, with the hurling of insults? It seems we human beings never outgrow the impulse to call people who disagree with us nasty names. There have … Continue reading

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Worldbuilding with Horses: Personalities

There’s one trap the worldbuilder can fall into all too easily. It’s the same one Hollywood persistently falls into with genre films. The special effects take over, and nobody remembers that what really makes a story work is people. Soylent … Continue reading

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So Nice…

By Linda Nagata (cross-posted from Hahví.net) Mostly, I’m a nice person. Odds are excellent that I won’t cheat you, sabotage you, or stab you in the back. I’m not very good at holding grudges either. Frankly, grudges, old hates, enemies, … Continue reading

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Villains: Evil and Otherness

Typically, science fiction conventions will offer a panel discussion on villains. Writers and readers love to talk about the bad guys. After all, more often than not, they’re more interesting — not to mention sexier — than the good guys. … Continue reading

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Characters — More Than Real

For me, characters make or break a story. I’ll forgive a lot of plot holes or even huge stretches of belief if the characters are compelling–if they’re folks with whom I want to spend a few hours. But it’s hard to get that right on the page. Continue reading

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What’s My Motivation?

No wonder most folks think they suck at plotting—they do. Lately, I’ve read implausible plots, overly melodramatic plots only missing the villain twirling a mustache, plots so tangled there’s no way you can get the synopsis to five pages and have it make sense, and complex plots where the romance (and the character) are lost in the action. How do you fix this? It all goes back to character. Continue reading

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