Posts belonging to Category Character autonomy

Ramblings on Motivation

Without motivation, there is no story. If there’s already a plot, it needs to be possible to get the characters motivated to do something about it. If there isn’t one already planned out, the characters need to want something enough to pull the story themselves.
When they don’t, bad things happen.
A character without motivation might follow [...]

Two Alternatives to “I Am a Plot Device”

When I did my rant on plot device characters, Michael pointed out that there were alternatives to being a passive plot device, mostly having to do with one character wanting to use another as said plot device and the second character having none of it. Yes, yes there are, and most of those sorts of [...]

I Am a Plot Device. Pay Me No Mind.

“I am a plot device. Pay me no mind.”
It’s pretty obvious when this is how a character is designed. She—in the really old stories it was usually a she, as often as not she’s a she now, and what set me thinking on this tonight was the title character of the Welsh tale “Branwen, Daughter [...]

Individuality and My Backstory Process

Yesterday, I mentioned that I find some rather interesting interactions between my interest in seeing characters as individuals and my approach to backstories. It’s pretty much inevitable given my own approach to both writing and role-playing, and it’s something I like trying to analyze.
When at all possible, I like to write characters’ backstories in first [...]

Secondary Character Exercise: Someone Else’s Story

One of the biggest problems people often see with secondary characters is when their creator doesn’t take much of an interest in them. I’m not saying they suddenly need to steal the story, but it helps to spend a little time in their heads, make them more than just caricatures on the page. Empathize with [...]

How to Create an Attractive Character

Image courtesy of sritenou, from stock.xchng
So after reading about the hazards of Designated Love Interests, you still want to tell a love story. Now that’s dedication. But authorial stubbornness alone isn’t going to win a character’s heart, or make an in-story romance convincing. The character needs to be attractive to the audience, be they [...]

For Side Characters to Live

The secondary character exists when you’re not looking at her.
That should be pretty self-explanatory, but it’s easy for people to forget that. In stories, you have characters that for some reason are always there, always available, always cheerfully dropping whatever it is they’re doing (if they’re doing anything, which is debatable) to help out. In [...]