Building Stronger Characters – Eat Your Veggies!

Strong as a Bull

It is my great pleasure to have a different person on the blog today!  I asked my wife if she would be willing to share some of her own thoughts about writing and the process thereof, and she said yes.  Below is her thoughts on what makes a character strong.

Without Further Ado:

Love. Love is a crucial part of almost any story, and is one of the biggest driving forces even in our own lives. Will the main character find love? Will they be together forever? Will they stop hating each other long enough to see how crazy they are about one another? All too often this love is sticky-sweet. Like a candy bar dipped in honey. It may (or may not-it depends on your taste) be delicious, but we usually reserve the dessert for the end of the meal, after we have had our fill of meats (the plot), veggies (the characters), and other savory foods (setting and other important bits). Even if the love story is the main story, the question “will they or won’t they?” isn’t a question at all without obstacles and other plot points getting in the way.

So how do you write a strong character? A strong character needs to be able to stand on their own. If they can’t, consider rewriting the character, or removing them altogether. To determine how well the character stands alone, try to answer these questions about their lives::

Past:
What is their backstory?
Who were they before they met/became the main character?
How does their backstory influence the plot?
What brought them to be part of the main plot?

Present:
Who are they now?
What do they like/dislike?
What are they passionate about?
What motivates them to take part in the story?
Would the story change at all if you removed them?
Do they have special talents or abilities that advance the plot?
What else is currently going on in their life?

Future:
What are their dreams/goals?
DO they end up accomplishing them?
How does the story affect them?

If you answer some of these questions and then incorporate the answers into your story, you should find that your characters are more believable, relatable and compelling. A flimsy damsel in distress can become a heroine who leads the charge. A hunk of man meat (that sounds gross!) can turn into an unstoppable moral force. And maybe fifty pages of smut can become 200 pages of unforgettable imagination.
So eat those veggies!

Until next week!

Grace and Peace.

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