Characters: The Heart of Your Story

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The best part about story-generation is character-generation.  Well, for me it is anyway! Essentially, writers tend to have their own processes when it comes to conceptual aspects of a story, elements that they have to get out of their heads and onto their computer screen.  Some writers use a detailed outline, others use a chapter breakdown with a few lines describing the elements of scenes that move the story along, and others use the tedious–but effective–index card to correlate and/or connect scenes.  No matter what conceptual method is used , all writers should understand that the heart of the story rests with a key element–CHARACTERS!   Characters, whether pro-or-antagonist, they must be three-dimensional, meaning they should have vulnerabilities and struggle.  Granted, as the protagonist is introduced to the reader, the vulnerabilities should not be forced but revealed as the story unfolds.  Now, the antagonist should have an air of mystique about him/her, a damned-near sense of invincibility and fearlessness, and a dash of recklessness.  Their vulnerabilities can show up later in the story, especially once the reader is fully immersed in the antagonist when the reader is truly rooting for them. Nothing like a reader being invested in the antagonist and seeing his/her foe on the back-foot.  So…as you’re generating those characters, delve deep and get to know them better than you THINK you do.  I guarantee that the characters you create, no matter how complete you think they may be before you start your story, will grow and you’ll learn some things about them that may surprise you–and your readers, too! 

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