on Insecure Writer’s Support Group:
Strengthen your characters with these eight questions.
Stories are about characters struggling with a problem, but sometimes, we get so focused on that problem we forget to give our characters the same attention. We treat them like paper dolls acting out our plots, and even though we promise to flesh them out in the next draft, we don’t always keep that promise.
So our drafts end up with weak characters who are there only because they have to be.
The problem with weak characters, is that they lead to weak stories.
Stories that don’t emotionally hook readers. Stories that have little to no tension. Stories that explain a premise, but never dig into why anything in that premise matters to a particular person. They’re yawn-worthy, when we want them to be gasp-worthy.
Just as weak characters lead to weak stories, strong characters lead to strong stories.
Characters with agency drive plots. Characters with conflicted emotions raise tensions. Characters who want things and fear things and care about what they’re doing make readers want and fear and care right along with them.
It’s better for everyone, really.
Before you start your next draft, ask these eight important questions: