Crafting Strong Characters

By Kerstin Wolf

Pacing, plot, and voice all play a massive role in creating an unforgettable novel. Just as important as all of that though are the characters. If anything, I would argue that strong, relatable characters are the single most important part of a novel. Without interesting characters that readers can relate to, the book is forgettable. Think of your favorite book. While you may love the book for a number of reasons, I would bet that you really liked at least one of the characters. Heck, I plan on naming one of my future kids after a character in my favorite book of all time! Characters are important, and one of the things I’ve noticed a lot as of late while reading manuscripts is that the characters aren’t able to hold their own. The whole story suffers if the characters aren’t strong enough. For that reason, this blog post has come to be! In this article, I hope to address some of the key aspects to a great character. Continue reading

Crafting Villains

If you’re crafting a story, you’re creating conflict for your characters. Without this conflict stories turn into journal entries, the boring stuff most people don’t even bother posting on social media. Conflict creates worry, which keeps the reader turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. It makes them ask, will the hero live, find love, figure out the mystery, beat the clock, graduate, save the world?

Where does this conflict come from? Lots of places, but in many stories the biggest source will be your antagonist. Let’s look at Harry Potter. JK Rowling created a huge adversary for Harry to face, one so scary no one would even say his name. She also crafted him in a way that made the story stronger. As people who study craft, we always ask how? What makes a villain real and terrifying? This is the question we’ll explore going forward. Continue reading

Exercises to Develop a Character’s Voice

Developing a character’s voice can sometimes be difficult but is necessary in every novel. As mentioned in the last blog post, Do’s and Don’t’s of Believable Dialogue, every character needs to have their own distinct voice. Unless all the characters in your novel are emotionless robots that are programmed the same way, each character needs to “sound” different to the reader. Nothing is more confusing than reading a line of dialogue between three or more characters that all sound the same. Things start getting jumbled and soon enough, the reader is completely lost on who is saying what. In order to have good dialogue and strong characters, each character must have their own unique voice. Continue reading

Natalie Charles on Writing, Publishing and Projects

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Natalie is the award winning author of six romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels. Her latest book Seeking Mr. Wrong is scheduled to be released on February 17, 2017.

Where are you from originally? 

I’m from the Hartford region of Connecticut. I grew up in a middle-class town, the oldest of four children in a single-income household. My parents struggled. As a teenager I was acutely aware that some of my friends were vacationing in Greece while I’d never even been to Canada. They were shopping at stores I’d never heard of. (The GAP? What’s that?) The characters in my books reflect this experience: They are often a little bit off, a touch gauche, and slightly uncomfortable with wealth. Their clothes never fit quite right, or they can’t quite figure out how to carry a conversation with certain people. I can relate to that awkwardness. Continue reading

Amber Mitchell on Great Characters and Writing Inspiration

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Amber Mitchell is the author of Garden of Thorns, which is to be released March 6, 2017. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Creative Writing. She currently lives in a small town in Florida with her husband Brian and their four cats.

On your site you mention that you love movies. Which are your favorites?

I think my favorite recent movie release has to be Zootopia. It was adorable! I can always watch Clueless, the Harry Potter movies and pretty much anything with Ryan Reynolds (loved Deadpool). However, I think the best movie I’ve ever seen is The Princess Bride. I can pretty much quote every word of it. I saw it when I was about 8 and it inspired my love of fantasy.

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