I’m confessing my deep, dark secret, that’s not a secret. I am trying to make sense of creating a story.
Yes, I’ve completed several manuscripts.
I’ve won contests.
No, I haven’t sold a book.
I’ve had positive rejections. I call that close, but not close enough.
I know what my issue is, or should I say issues.
- I hate to create problems for my characters.
I hate conflict. I rarely watch those crazy reality shows where you have folks bickering. They annoy me. Come on. Are you telling me that adults can’t sit down and work out their problems in a mature fashion? Grow up!
Okay, that being said, bickering isn’t the way to go. The characters need to have a deep, gut level conflict. It’s not a conflict where they can be mature. That’s where “gut level” comes in. The conflict has to go to the heart of the character. It’s something that has a normal person acting in a surprising way.
So what do you do to create this deep, gut level conflict?
You have to know your character. You have to know what would trip their switch. You have to know what will set them on a journey they don’t want to take.
Why haven’t I sold a book?
Oh, because it’s hard. Well, at least for me.
- I need to create people who don’t live in a special bubble.
I am going to admit this problem. I need to do a better job of busting that bubble and creating people who are living full lives. They are balancing more than one plate in their hands, they’ve got more than they can handle, yet I’ve got to pile more on, until things topple and the characters find themselves neck deep in a big mess.
In a previous post, “Let’s Go on a Journey,” Act II consists of Tests and Trials, Allies and Enemies. I created a grid to fill in the issues the characters must deal with. My hope is this tool will take me closer to my goal, improving my craft.
What have you done to make sense of creating characters?