More on story people today. I truly believe that the characters are the most important part of the story. Readers need to fall in love with characters, or the story just won’t work. I think about the novels I’ve read and the movies I’ve seen, and it’s always those with great characters which I remember. Usually, the characters and I have something in common, a shared emotion or desire, and I miss that character when the story is over.
According to Margaret Coel, best seller writer of the Wind River mystery series, the biggest question you have to answer for each character is: What does he/she WANT? Once you know the answer, consider, what would she/he do to get what they want?
These questions influence everything about your character. Some possibilities about what your character might want (all directly relating to the story people I have created in my stories and books) are:
FORGIVENESS (both from her/himself and from others; COMPANIONSHIP; REVENGE; MONEY; SUCCESS; FAME; LOVE; PASSION; PEACE; and POPULARITY.
Your characters will be driven by these wants. Their actions, their conversations and their thoughts will all be influenced by them. Every scene of the story you write should include conflict, because of the various wants of the characters. The push and pull of want drives your story.
Coel speaks about the want of the antagonist in every story. This universal want is CONTROL. The antagonist, or villain, pushes everything as they seek control.
In my mystery, Cobwebs – A Suspense Novel, the antagonists are manipulating the lead character, Jamie Aldrich, throughout the story. They keep her on edge, they keep her moving toward the truth. And because they drive her to seek answers they desire to hide, conflict builds, tension builds until the story’s end.
Tomorrow’s post will include more about characters, as the theme of the week continues.