One of the best ways to analyze your main character is to look at his or her morals. What is the one thing that they would never do and what situation would be that exception. If your character has a tendency to lie, especially to get things he/she wants, ask yourself in what situation would he/she stop lying and start telling the truth?
Some of the best stories are the ones where characters are thrown into situations where they wouldn’t usually find themselves. Place your stuck up corporate guy in a tattoo parlor or get your shy werewolf in a karaoke sing-off. Seriously, put characters in situations where they are uncomfortable and learn how he or she will react. The story doesn’t always have to follow these situations but these are great ways to get to know your characters and how she or he would react to strange situations.
Another great way to start building conflict is to know your characters basic needs like life, love, or money. These are all things that people, your readers, can relate to in most cultures. Take what your character needs away and surround it with fear of loss and conflict can begin to build.
Conflict also goes with the antagonist. Whatever your main character wants the antagonist wants the opposite. This doesn’t mean your antagonist is evil (well not to himself) it means that he has a perfectly good reason to want just the opposite. Think of this conflict as the game, both the main character and antagonist want to win but only one of them can have their way.
Creating conflict comes from opposition. Emotional conflict is just as important as physical conflict. In some cases emotional conflict, especially in books, is vital in developing character relationships and getting readers pulled into the story.
So create the most intense conflict you can think of and keep writing!
It’s writing Wednesday and I have dedicated writing time…which often is spent on Facebook…or my favorite authors websites…or just surfing the internet. Damn those distractions!
Grrr…don’t you just hate distractions?!
So here are ten tips for dedicated writing time:
- Shut off your phone, shut off the internet. These are just distractions and you will not need them to write. Grab an old fashioned dictionary and thesaurus if you really need one.
- Do a meditation before to clear your thoughts.
- Eat before you start so you don’t get distracted by that growling tummy half way through the writing session. And keep a drink next to you but away from the electronics. 🙂
- Get comfortable. If you are not comfortable you will not be focused on writing but focused your body’s complaints.
- Find a clean space that is distraction free. A clean desk is a clean mind…wait do we really want that for romance? Yes, you do! You want to keep your eyes on the computer or pen and paper not playing with the Rubik’s cube that just happened to be laying next to you. 🙂
- Set up a timer. This is a great idea for my speed writers who like to see if they can keep writing for quick-short periods of time to reach a specific word count. You can also simply just use your phone timer and set it for short periods of time (usually around 30 minutes). Once the timer goes off, stop writing and reward yourself with a goal accomplished (like visiting this blog ;)) or give yourself a punishment like 20 push-ups for not writing the entire 30 minutes or not meeting the word count. A great website and even app on the iPad is Write or Die! (http://writeordie.com/) This app and website tracks your words and time to get you to keep writing.
- Another great trick I use is headphones. I usually like listening to score when I write but even if you don’t listen to music I have found that people are a lot less likely to disturb me if I have headphones on.
- Don’t edit your novel until it is finished. This is probably one of the hardest ones for me to follow. I find myself going back and fixing sentences and descriptions all the time. Don’t! Edit your work when the story is finished, for now just get the story on the screen or on paper.
- Write daily! Make it a habit to write everyday even if it is not for the novel, just keep those keyboards and pens moving for inspiration. Another great practice to keep going is stream-of-consciousness writing, this helps focus thoughts especially in creating new worlds. You can also create a word count quota for everyday, this keeps you writing until the novel is done. Just 1,667 word per day is a 50K novel in 30 days!
- Have fun! Don’t forget that this is about writing for yourself and no one else. Even if we never get published it’s always important to remember that when we finish a novel or short story we have accomplished something. So reward yourself for every goal, no matter how small, achieved!
So bring out those computers, tablets, pens, and paper and start writing. Keep going and don’t give up! I have faith that all of us can get published because all of us have a story to tell. 🙂