characters

Unlikable Characters: A Case Study

David Corbett offers a case study of the concept of pathos, a moral argument in which an everyman employs immoral means to pursue something he considers invaluable in the face of an overwhelmingly powerful person or system.

What Is Your Character’s Cornerstone?

If you’re not watching the excellent HBO series Westworld, you should. Not only is the show a study in deft plotting and complex themes, but it’s a delicious, entertaining mystery that continues to surprise me week after week. (The season 1 finale is tonight at 9:00 EST, but it’s worth a binge-fest.)...

11 Secrets to Writing an Effective Character Description

The following is an excerpt from Word Painting Revised Edition by Rebecca McClanahan, available now! The characters in our stories, songs, poems, and essays embody our writing. They are our words made flesh. Sometimes they even speak for us, carrying much of the burden of plot, theme, mood, idea, and emotion....

Writing the Unlikable Character (and Why You Should)

We talk a lot about the importance of writing characters that readers like or can relate to—and by “we” I mean anyone who feels strongly about books, regardless of profession. It’s nice to know when the good guy is good and when the bad guy is bad. That’s what you expect...

How to Find the Perfect Names for Your Characters

No matter what genre of fiction you write, be it horror like King or Lovecraft, crime like Patterson or Spillane, or more literary fare like Sontag, Roth, or Updike, there’s one very basic thing all fiction writers have in common—we love coming up with perfect place and character names, and we...

How to Find The Moment of Truth For Your Main Character

This excerpt is from Jeff Gerke’s book, Plot versus Character. To find the moment of truth for your main character, bring to mind your hero’s knot. You’ve got her “problem” already figured out. You’ve also chosen the alternative, the sunny land of promise she could get to if she lets go...