Tag Archives: Character Arc

Writing Excuses 9.19: Showing Emotion

How do you go about writing a character showing their emotions without them sounding whiny (or whatever the “too-much” version of the appropriate emotion might be)?

Adding to the difficulty of the exercise, how do you know where that “too much” line is for your book, your genre, and your audience?

We talk about how we’ve each faced this challenge, and how that’s been very different for each of us. Sometimes it comes down to “show, don’t tell,” and sometimes that rule flat out doesn’t work. And sometimes it doesn’t come down to a simple rule at all. (Okay, most of the time that’s what it comes down to.)

 

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Write a letter to Jane or Vincent, and write that letter as if you were a person living in the setting of Mary’s Glamourist Histories.

Valour and Vanity, by Mary Robinette Kowal, and narrated by Mary, too!

Writing Excuses 8.30: Writing Reluctant Characters

What’s a reluctant character? Well, it’s somebody who needs to be dragged along into the adventure, somebody who isn’t the sort of self-motivated, go-getter that we so often populate our books with. These characters feel a lot like real people — our world is full of folks like this. The trick lies in making these characters interesting to read.

We offer some examples from things we’ve read, some general structural tricks, and some of the tools we’ve used in our own work, including examples from Glamour in Glass, The Way of Kings, and The Hollow City.

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Create a character who is either weak or reluctant, determine why they are weak or reluctant, and then write the decision point.

Celebromancy, by Michael R. Underwood, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal, who gets to make a light-saber noise as part of the narration…

Writing Excuses 7.1 When Good Characters Go Bad

Welcome to Writing Excuses Season 7!

Let’s start with a trip to the dark side! How do you take a good character and make them evil? And why would you want to do this? Brandon, Dan, Mary, and Howard answer that second question first, and then walk you through the process of doing this. We cover establishing the character, venturing onto a slippery slope, and connecting these and other elements to important pieces of the story.

We talk about the types of “evil” a character can fall into, using character examples like Oedipus, Othello, Boromir, and Doctor Horrible, and how you might incorporate tragic flaws into their downward-trending paths. Finally, we offer examples where we’ve seen it done poorly. Hello, Anakin!

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Come up with a list of three things that are important to your main character. Push one of those things out of alignment so that it will draw your character to the antagonist’s side.

Hard Magic, by Larry Correia, narrated by Bronson Pinchot

Writing Excuses 6.2: Internal Motivations

If you have to ask yourself “what’s my motivation?” when you’re sitting down to write, this isn’t the podcast for you. We’re talking about character motivation in this cast.

Mary breaks it down into different aspects: what the character wants, and how that is expressed on the page. From there the analysis proceeds. We talk about how to do it, how others have done it, and what some of the pitfalls are.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis, narrated by Katherine Kellgren, with Connie Willis reading the introduction. These two books have been nominated for the 2011 Best Novel Hugo.

Writing Prompt: Come up with a character motivation, and then an action that character must take which runs counter to that motivation.

That Distant Hum Ten Minutes In: Somebody decided to run the vacuum upstairs. It was a busy weekend at Chez Sanderson.

Liner Notes: Mary Robinette Kowal schooled us all back in Season Three with this discussion of puppetry.

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Writing Excuses 5.29: Rewriting

We were fortunate enough to record two episodes with Tracy Hickman and Dave Wolverton at Life, The Universe, and Everything XXIX. In this second installment these masters of the craft school us on the subject of rewrites.

We are introduced to terms like “triage editing” and “shotgun editing,” we talk about the difference between what you want to say and how you want to say it, and we have a great time telling stories on the sadly absent Brandon Sanderson, who we all agree to be a brilliant re-writer.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Dragons of the Dwarven Depths: The Lost Chronicles Volume 1, by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss, narrated by Sandra Burr

Writing Prompt: Take the climax of your story and ask yourself what you’ve left out of earlier scenes that might be preventing it from being the best moment of the story. You’ve certainly left SOMETHING out. Go put it in.

Worst Podcast or Panel Etiquette Ever: Taking a phone call from the stage during a recording session in front of a live audience while Tracy Hickman is talking. What soulless knave would do such a thing? Listen and find out…

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.
Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.
*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

Audible® Free Trial Details
Get your first 14 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one audiobook credit. After your 14 day trial, your membership will renew each month for just $14.95 per month so you can continue to receive one audiobook credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. A very small number of titles are more than one credit. Cancel your membership before your free trial period is up and you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. Any unused audiobook credits will be lost at cancellation.

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