Characters are critical for stories that resonate. Why? Because characters are the conduit that connects the reader and vests them in the story problem. They’re the emotional touchstone that allows for catharsis, because—when written well—it doesn’t matter if the character is a space alien or a federal agent, we (readers) can relate to them in some way.
We can’t empathize with technology, spaceships, magic, or nuclear submarines. Humans can’t bond emotionally to a place (without the characters as the connection).
For instance, we CARE about Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth because we care about Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf. And, because Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf care deeply for Middle Earth and the Shire…we do as well.
Story is like the wall socket that’s connected a tremendous power source. But, how useful would those wall sockets be if all the gadgets in everyday life didn’t have plugs? How useful would a bunch of dead gadgets be?
We cannot have story without characters and can’t, conversely, have characters (DIMENSIONAL characters) without story.
Readers read stories, but great stories read the readers.
***I know we’ve talked about all this before, but since I am pathologically honest, I feel the need to tell on myself. I cracked a back tooth and had major dental work last week. With all the drugs? I actually have a completely new post almost finished, but it’s been like pulling teeth…bada bump snare.
So please forgive the refresher.
CONTINUE READING HERE
Kristen Lamb provides us with a blog post about creating a story-worthy problem that will captivate an audience. She writes this post in her incomparable unique witty way and still educates us. Thank you, Kristen!
The story-worthy problem is the beating heart of all superlative fiction.
Unfortunately, creating this central core can often be overlooked. This is particularly true for writers relying on school training.
English teachers didn’t mind we used twenty-five metaphors on one page because their goal was to teach us how to properly use a metaphor…not how to write successful commercial fiction.
Creating the core problem and then—possibly (depending on genre)—the many overlapping layers and misdirections, is tough mental work.
Story as Structure
Like any structure, a story demands a strong foundation and sturdy frame. Without structure, it’s easy for author (and audience) to become lost.
Without those elements? The story caves in. But, foundations and framing aren’t nearly as fun as picking out paint, furniture, or drapes.
Face it, for most of us, decorating a house is much more fun than building one. This can be the same for stories. Crafting the perfect sentence, poring over descriptions, tinkering with dialogue is fun.
Kristen Lamb once again teaches us about writing and how storms are the center of all great stories. Thanks so much for a new blog post and your education, Kristen!
Every story begins with ideas. Alas, stories can only be created when at least two vastly different ideas collide. The place where these ideas meet is the BOOM, much like the weather.
Storms erupt because of two very different bodies of air meet…and don’t get along.
Only one idea, however, can win. In the meantime, lots of metaphorical rain, lightning strikes and maybe some tornadoes. After the powerful storms, the landscape is altered, lives are changed, some even lost.
It’s the same with powerful stories. Yet, instead of weather fronts colliding, differing ideas are colliding.
It’s wonderful to have a great story idea. Alas, an idea alone is not enough. It’s a solid start but that’s all. Loads of people have ‘great ideas’ and that and five bucks will get them a half-foam latte at Starbucks…one day when it reopens.
Ideas are everywhere…especially now *sighs*
What differentiates the author from the amateur is taking the time to understand—fundamentally—how to take that idea and craft it, piece by piece, into a great story readers love.
Kristen Lamb posts about nerve-shredding tension, generation page-turning and about conflict. Thank you for another post to learn from, Kristen!
Secret-keepers have what it takes to be legendary storytellers. Stories aren’t solely about pretty writing, glorious description, or witty banter. Excellent stories are about one thing and one thing only….CONFLICT.
Want to know the secret ingredient that turns responsible adult readers into reckless maniacs willing to stay up until DAWN to finish a book…on a work day?
Secret-Keepers Resist the Urge to Explain
Secret-keepers learn to resist the urge to explain, which we’ll talk about in a moment. Before any deception even comes into play, we—as authors—must make sure we cast jacked up people in our story. To be blunt, perfectly well-adjusted, responsible people are dull.
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