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Are you one of those people who starts off a rough draft so excited about your characters and your story, only to plow through to the end and find that it has lost its charm? We should start a club together.
Sometimes it is because familiarity rubs the shine off, but you still have a great character and a great story. Other times the character you thought was deep enough to carry the plot turns out to be as deep as a sheet of paper and really can’t live up to the role. Janice Hardy’s Fiction University to the rescue! Learn how to tell if it is you or your character that needs changing.
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Keeping Your Characters Compelling Beyond the First Draft
By Janice Hardy
Before I dive in…I had lunch with reader Carol Baldwin and did a little Q&A. That interview is up on her blog now for those interested. Come on over and say hello when you’re done here.
We’ve got a bit of a theme week going, looking at a few “beyond the first draft” issues writers run into. Today, it’s keeping a character as interesting and compelling as we thought they were when we first created them.
Characters often evolve as we write them, and it’s not uncommon to have a character we loved while we were planning a novel or writing that first draft feels a little, well, meh when we go back to revise. Now that we’ve seen them in action, we wonder why anyone would care about this person at all.
Sometimes this is just us second guessing ourselves and the character is still good, but other times our instincts are right on target. The character is boring. We created them and even we don’t care anymore.
Is it You or Them?
It’s possible you’ve lost the love because you’ve been living with this character for a while, and what was new and exciting is now old hat. You know how their story plays out, you’ve figured out all the twists and secrets, and knowing that makes the character less mysterious and fun.
It’s time to analyze the issue and find where the problem lies. Take a close (and hard) look at the character and ask:
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