I’m a bit of a planner when it comes to writing. I need a framework, something to help keep my eye on the end game. Before I begin any story or chapter it has to be planned in as much detail as possible. In the past, most of my planning focused on plot. Moving the story from A to B. While I include character development in this, it never had much of a focal point.
Real Writing Stories returns for its second installment. This week, with the help of writer Forest Wells, I'm launching a new weekly feature called My Writing Day. Readers of The Guardian newspaper may have seen this before. A writer shares their average writing day—the process, the distractions, the strife, the achievements. The Guardian however looks at the writing days of more well-known writers only. They're very insightful and inspirational pieces, but I think the stories of other writers at different stages in their journeys can be more interesting and relatable.
One of the things I love to do most in the world is helping you good people out in any way I can. Kindness can be a rare thing nowadays and it's always good to spread it around whenever possible. This is the philosophy behind The Writer's Tool Shed, and with the posts mounting up I've decided to compile those so far published into a free eBook—This Craft We Call Writing: Volume One. Over 150 pages of tips, hints, and guides on everything from dialogue, plotting, viewpoint and prose, to world-building, writing fight scenes and editing, complete with pictures! And it's totally free when you sign up to my mailing list!
After my research post looking at reasons why people stop reading a book, poor characterisation ranked top. I come across many articles looking at protagonists, but few to do with the bad guys, and a poorly characterised villain is just as off-putting as a poorly characterised hero. In this short article, you'll read a few simple ways to make your bad guys of pure evil more compelling, and your conflicted antagonists more intriguing.
It’s not an easy skill to come up with interesting and compelling characters. My research article exploring reasons why people stop reading a book revealed weak characterisation to be one of the biggest culprits. This article will first consider what makes a character interesting before going on to explore some tools to help you craft your own.