Last year, a Twitter pal asked me if using the personality traits for the zodiac signs was an effective way of developing characters. I didn’t say “no” outright; each writer has a unique method of creating characters that works for them. The only advice I gave her was to ensure that, whatever method she used, her characters were well-rounded and realistic.
Yet her question reminded me of something very important: I had never figured out my characters’ birthdays. (*blushes*) The only reasons why are that I had been so focused on other aspects of their personality, backstory, etc., and that I didn’t plan on having birthdays coincide with events in my WIP. But it got me thinking:
“Which zodiac signs fit my WIP’s characters best? Do their personalities fit any of the signs at all? And if they do, could I determine my characters’ birthdays that way?”
The short answer, thanks to researching and experimenting over the past few months? Yes. 🙂 But before I explain how we can work backwards to do this, it’s time to unveil…
Welcome to the Character Evolution Files! This monthly column focuses on character arcs, from the elements that create or enhance a character’s inner journey, to techniques that writers can employ to strengthen character arcs in their own work. Today we kick things off with File 01, which explores two important questions: “What is character evolution?” and “Why is it important?”
So many elements comprise the art of novel-writing: plot, voice, setting, characters… The list goes on, and it’s impossible to say that one element is more crucial than the other. However, when I think back on some of my favorite stories of all time, many share one common element: a clear character arc. Perhaps the protagonist grows as a result of his journey, or he learns something because of his endeavors. Either way, he’s not the same person at the end of the novel that he was in Chapter 1. This kind of evolution can create a truly memorable story that sticks with readers long after they finish it.
So, what exactly is “character evolution”? What launches a character arc? And, why is it important to begin with? Before we dive too deep, let’s define our terms and ensure we have a solid foundation for building this series.
Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.
After focusing on supporting characters from The Keeper’s Curse for the past two Beautiful People posts, it’s time to return to the protagonist, Eva. In case you haven’t “met” her before, Eva is a 17-year-old Faerie and the chief navigator and translator for the Council of Selanaan (a group of commoner Faeries selected to be diplomats working on their king’s behalf).
So, here are the 10 questions Eva needs to answer this month. Or, rather, the questions I need to answer so you can get to know Eva better. 😉
Wounds, Lies, & Flaws: Using Character Arcs to Propel Your Story
Chapters Completed: 14
Chapters In Progress: 6
Chapters Left to Start: 14
“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with writing my current work-in-progress (WIP), which is a fantasy novel. Every 5,000 words, I let readers know what I’ve accomplished since the previous article and share advice, discoveries, techniques, etc. Besides the word count in each article title, a “chapter ticker” at the top also tracks my progress as I use the skip-around / “writercopter” method to write the novel. Today’s installment celebrates the book reaching 55,000 words in length.
Reaching each 5,000-word milestone on this WIP has become a ritual that I look forward to very much. It allows me to look back at what I’ve done since the last update and at how far this story has come since I started writing it last year. And, it gives me an opportunity to look ahead and alternate between thinking “Yay! Another step closer to finishing!” and “Jeez, Sara, are you crazy?” (Ha ha!) I’m willing to bet, though, that many writers feel that way when they’re in the middle of a first draft. All I can do to move forward is to keep imagining, planning, changing said plans, talking to myself (I do that A LOT when I write), and typing until the entire book has been written. And with each writing session, I’m indeed another step closer to that point. Continue reading
Meet The Protagonist – A Character Profile
Chapters Completed: 12
Chapters In Progress: 8
Chapters Left to Start: 14
“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with writing my current work-in-progress (WIP), which is a fantasy novel. Every 5,000 words, I let readers know what I’ve accomplished since the previous article and share advice, discoveries, techniques, etc. Besides the word count in each article title, a “chapter ticker” at the top also tracks my progress as I use the skip-around / “writercopter” method to write the novel. Today’s installment celebrates the book reaching 50,000 words in length.
First of all, YAY! I’ve been looking forward to reaching the 50,000-word milestone for some time – not only because of the purpose I’d planned for this particular article, but because this milestone means I’m roughly halfway finished with my WIP. 😀 So, this Chronicle feels like a true celebration.
Let’s get right to the progress points since my previous Chronicle: Continue reading