You can either enjoy the story or write the story everyone enjoys.

{Day 2} Author's Essential Writing Pilot

 

The Page-Turning Storybuilder Blueprint™
{Part I}


Welcome to The Page-Turning Storybuilder Blueprint™. You are now ready to get into the grueling part of the drafting process. Below you will find information about the five elements of a story including plot types, creating realistic characters, perfecting sensory details and more. Let’s get right into it!

Editing Your Plot(s) 

There are seven basic types of plots:

1) Overcoming the Monster - the protagonist overcomes an antagonistic force which threatens them or their homeland.

2) Rags to Riches - the poor protagonist obtains his “riches” (wealth, power, a lover/spouse), loses it all and works to gain it back as they become a better person.

3) The Quest - the protagonist and their party set out to obtain an object or get to a certain place, meeting many obstacles along the way.

4) Voyage and Return - the protagonist goes to an unknown land, overcomes the obstacles posed to them, and returns home with the experience they gain in the journey.

5) Comedy - a cheerful plot that centers around overcoming adversity and usually has a happy ending.

6) Tragedy - the protagonist is the villain and their death is a happy ending, or they get away with their wrongdoings.

7) Rebirth - the protagonist is forced to change their ways, resulting in their becoming a better person.

The success of your story depends on how well you guide your characters through one of the plots above. Some stories combine elements from different schemes as sub-plots, but there is always a main plot structure that the majority of the book follows.

As you open up your book, start reading to yourself out loud. Yes. Out loud. Not in your head. This will do two things:

1) It will help you find or hear your voice, and

2) It will help you see the sentence fluency of your story.

If you stumble or have difficulty speaking a section aloud, your audience will probably stumble while reading it as well. Change it. Sometimes all it takes is a rewording or a flip of the sentence structure — putting the beginning at the end of the sentence or visa versa. Either way, any effort to make the story more readable is a step in the right direction.

Find the joy in this part of the process. You might find sections where you will wonder if you were even sober when you were writing. It is all a part of the process. You are not a terrible writer; you are just sifting through the filth.

 

Creating Realistic Characters 

Character development is absolutely vital in fiction novels. Whether it is romance, fantasy, or steampunk, your characters drive the story. They are whom the readers connect with, whom they like or dislike. It’s how they become a part of the story, so they have to be believable. Readers need to relate to your characters on some level, even if that level is “I know someone like that.” When creating your character profiles, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1) Physical Traits

The physical traits are those you would immediately see upon looking at the character. Weight, height, eye color, body type, slouching, skin color, things of this nature. You can also see the character’s style, tattoos, and piercings, etc.

Physical appearance is the first part of your major and minor characters’ profiles. Get as detailed as possible. These are the concrete details about a character that you will use when describing them in your books. They will help paint a picture in the reader’s mind. The reader should be able to close their eyes and “see” the character.

Just as a quick note when writing your descriptions: don’t stop the action of the story just to tell the reader how your character appears. Allow the descriptions to flow with the writing as the character is introduced. Here’s an example:

James Connor strode in proudly, locking his green eyes on the professor who’d asked the question. He fanned the locks of his brown hair out of his face with his left hand. His right he kept in the pocket of his beach-style clothing that fit his slender frame and matched his tanned skin.

Can you see how describing the character in the middle of the scene works? This technique gives life to your characters as well as giving your reader a vivid description of their physical traits. You can even begin to form assumptions of how he/she acts, which is the next section.

2) Movement & Speech

Now, characters do not just have physical things that make them memorable; their actions and speech are crucial as well. Their accent or lack thereof, the timbre and speed of their speech, all of these characteristics add more depth to the person. A character’s movement adds even more depth to them. Do they walk with a limp? Do they waddle or lean? The possibilities are endless! Here, you create a more complete character for the reader.

Now, when describing your characters, you want to make sure you are showing how a character behaves. If they are “clean freaks”, show them tidying up. If they have an injury, show it in some way – maybe they rub their sprained wrist or off-handedly scratch a healed broken arm. If they are a busy person, show them scrambling around, never spending too much time in one place, possibly leaving small things that he/she will need to be clean up later. Do they skim readings rather than going over the writingthem thoroughly? Do they check their phone or watch every so often? Do they drink exorbitant amounts of water to the point where they always have to use the restroom? You get the point. Things like this give readers more of a complete look into the way a character behaves.

3) Interacting

There’s another critical way readers can get the full understanding of your characters: how they interact with each other. Think about you and your best friend. What is more important to you, the way they look or the person they are? Somewhere down the line, you had an interaction with your best friend that launched your closeness to new heights. The same goes for your readers.

With interaction, your readers get a feel for the character’s intelligence, sense of responsibility, playfulness, how ethical they are, what kind of political position they take, their religious beliefs, and their educational background.

Showing the many aspects of your character’s personality is done mainly in dialogue exchanges. It’s even more fun to write when there’s conflict involved. Here is an example:

She shrugged, her smile once again turning sly. “Eh, you know, helping the world one mission at a time.” Her eyes passed over him. “I see you’ve been enjoying the country life.”

Rathis lifted a brow. “Are you trying to say I’m fat?”

Her smooth brows lifted as she tilted her head, her eyes going to his midsection once again. “Well, you aren’t the Rathis of old. That’s for sure.”

Rathis grunted. “And yet I still managed to best you.”

Rhia chuckled as she turned to look after her company as if she could see them behind the trees. “Yeah, well, you wouldn’t have if it had been just me.”

“Sounds like you aren’t the Rhia of old, either.”

Her eyes flashed back to him as her sly smile returned. “I guess change isn’t so bad, huh?”

“As long as you change for the better.”

“What do you think?” She looked back to the trees. “Have I changed for the better?”

Rathis followed her sight. “I think you’ve got a good start.”

She chuckled, giving him her full attention. “So what’s with the mission face?”

“The what?”

“The mission face. In the guild, whenever you received a mission, your face would get serious until it was over.”

“Oh,” Rathis scratched his stubble. “I never realized.”

“You wouldn’t unless you could see your face. No one else had that face on missions. Like a blank, steady stare, like you’re studying everything you see.”

“When I’m on a mission, I am.”

“You’re not on a mission,” Rhia said, her mood quickly going somber. “There are no more missions. The guild has disbanded, so why are you studying me?”

In this little dialogue, you can get a feel for how Rathis and Rhia are, how they interact, and what kind of people they are. Rhia’s insulting Rathis, showing her sense of humor. He fires back at her, showing his personality and character, and then the conversation turns serious, showing they both have another side to them. Personal interaction is the glue that keeps readers interested in your story. Personalities make readers love and hate certain characters, just as they love and hate various people in their real lives. Dialogue interaction can reveal pet peeves, special interests, favorite foods, and more.

Now, it is okay for your characters to change. Personal growth might cause characters who got along in the past not compatible anymore. Your characters should be growing and moving, learning and “living”.

4) Private Motivations

You cannot truly understand a character until you know what motivates them. Not just with their friends, but when they are alone. When they don’t have a persona to uphold. When they are free behind closed doors and able to “be themselves”.

These motivations can be shown in monologues and chapters/sections featuring a character’s inner thoughts. Their inner desires complete the person for a reader. It gives the character humanity. Here, you learn why a character reacts to situations the way they do. The inner thoughts of your characters further answer questions about motivation, morals, and the person's ethics.  These things may surprise or impress the reader. Either way, they keep reading. The character your readers hate might not be as evil as they seem – their motivations may be driven by something noble. The reader may even learn about the character’s hidden fantasies. Moreover, this is how they get attached to your characters.

When character editing, write down the name and role of each character. Then, as you read, take note of everything you notice about them from the story. All of the characteristics and habits you want to instill in your characters should develop in your writing. When introducing a character, you should have a visual image in your mind. If you cannot visualize the character, then your readers might not be able to either. Give your characters at least one habit right off the bat. Others may be present as the story progresses. If your character does not jump off the page at you, use this guide to add some more characterization. Even minor characters need to have enough traits to be “real,” if on a lesser degree.

Note: If your antagonist (the opposition) is a character, they need to develop just the same as the protagonist (the main character). They must be just as complex as the protagonist, if not more. The antagonist and their efforts against the protagonist make your story worth reading. Do not skimp on the details of the villain.

Hopefully this helps you with creating your stories! Come back tomorrow for more tools to help you improve your writing!

 

What You Will Learn This Week:


Day 3 - The Most Important Thing You Need To Understand About Your Book!


Day 4 - How To Launch Your Book, Boost Your Sales &
Hit The Bestsellers Lists

 

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