Wednesday, September 7, 2016

IWSG Sept., 2016 Characters

It's the 1st Wednesday in September. Summers almost over in the Northern Hemisphere. For are Southern friends they will soon welcome spring. Changes are coming and it's time for the IWSG blog. Created by Alex J. Cavanuagh who realized that many of us are insecure and created a forum so we could share. Thank you Alex.

If you'd like to see what others have to say about their insecurities go here.

Today I've decided to post about characters. Who better to have insecurities than our characters. What kind and how those nasty insecurities affect them is up to you.

Let's say you are developing a character. It doesn't matter if it's a hero or villain. Why? Because each must be motivated by something as well as challenged.

One character has always had it easy. S/he has been loved and encouraged they're entire life.

The other character has struggled through school and has been told they're worthless.

Which one is the most compelling?

While all of us wish our lives had been the first, I think most of us can honestly say life hasn't always been wonderful.

If it is a hero that you're writing about how does s/he overcome the obstacles that are put in front of them? If a villain, how does his/her past affect their mindset. How does the past make them choose what they do.

I love a story that makes me sympathize with the villain while hating his/her actions.

The choice is yours. "Be a brilliant and prolific writer."  I love this quote but I'm having trouble finding the author. If you know please let me know in the comments.

Name a favorite character, what story or author and why.

Be inspired.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nancy - I admire you for writing ... letting alone putting characters into context - and can quite understand how it'd be easy to write one, but not another or even another ... good luck though - cheers Hilary

Adrienne Reiter said...

Hi Nancy! I write noir mystery. I have my protagonists start out with just enough to be relatable to the reader, then I take it all away. Deaths, thefts, after that the reader will follow them through hell. Favorite Character: Lew Archer, Novel: The Drowning Pool, Because: - "Get in," I said. "You don't want it to happen to the other arm? I got a passion for symmetry." Brilliant!

Crystal Collier said...

You mean you want me to remember names? That might be beyond my ability right now. (Hello Mommy brain!) I think the villain really is the key to good characters. If you don't have someone incredibly complicated to overcome, the story lacks drive. That said, my villains are all over the place.

Anonymous said...

Great character tips! I love a villain who is gray, rather than black. One of my favorites: Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series. Everyone thought he was a villain but he had more courage and integrity than anyone. He deserved a better ending.
Happy IWSG Day!
IWSG Co-host at

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those troubled characters always make for a better story. Who wants to read about someone whose life is swell?

Laura Clipson said...

Flawed characters are always so much more interesting to read about. Nobody wants to read about someone who has a perfect life.

N. R. Williams said...

Always nice to see you Hilary.

Hi Adrienne. I'm not familiar with Archer or 'Noir Mystery,' something for me to add to my reading list.

Ah Crystal. I totally understand the mommy years. As for your characters, they are excellent.

Hi Lori. Gray is good. I loved Severus too.

Hi Alex. Indeed, who does want to read about a life that is perfect.

Hi Laura. Ditto on that perfect character.

Thanks everyone for coming by.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Dueling desires always make for interesting characters: the husband who desires to get ahead but also desires to keep the respect of his children gets a golden chance for promotion ... but only if he betrays his children's beloved uncle to get it.

You're right: Darth Vader made Star Wars! :-)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Roland
Love Darth who gave up fatherhood, among other things for the dark side.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Nancy!

That's nearly the first time I've ever seen an American acknowledge that it is a different season in the Southern Hemisphere. It can get annoying if you let it, and I try not to. Yes, we're heading into spring after a very short winter Down Under. A lovely time of year before summer hits with a vengeance.

Love your take on characters. To be interesting, they have to have many facets and it seems nothing can go right for them. I hate making my characters suffer, but there's no other way to write these days!

Hope all goes well with the family, Nancy!

Denise :-)

Lexa Cain said...

It's a strange coincidence that atm I'm writing out characterization, motivation, and figuring out character arcs for my next WIP. I find I have to get that squared away before I can start working on the plot. I always find troubled, underdog characters more sympathetic than the well-adjusted ones. They're boring. LOL!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Denise. I thought of you down under when I shared that spring inspiration.

Hi Lexa. I love creating interesting characters. Good luck.

Ann Best said...

How lovely to see you again, Nancy. It's so true that we must create characters with challenges/weaknesses etc. no story in a happy pain free life. Pretty boring I think.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Ann
You're right. Thanks for stopping by.

dolorah said...

I'm watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on netflix. One of my favorite characters is a villain: Ward. The writers made us care about him, his intrinsic goodness, the way so many people in power have used and abused him. Then they let us know he's an unfeeling traitor. Ghads, he's such a sympathetic villain. I never know who to root for. I love it when characters have so many layers.