Writing the knockout novel: pt 6 – RWAus14

Characters and Scenes



How can you make your characters interesting, memorable, different?

Good characters jump off the page

Jump off the page:   Unpredictable, but can justify it:


Make a list of possible actions and decisions

  • There will be some that are silly
  • You might end up picking one that is further down the list


  • A deep psychological longing


  • Physical
  • Emotional


  • Will jump to action if this is activate


  • Can have two conflicting emotions at the same time
  • If written well, can make for intriguing characters


  • Able to  make do with what is available and get results



Fighting for a noble ideal 

  • Going against own interests for the greater good

 Inner conflict

Two voices inside a character really increases the emotional impact


Vogler`s rule

If two or more organs of your body are not secreting fluids, your story is no good

  • Uses concept of the chakras being active at different times to mirror emotions


Bell`s rule:

You need to have at least one hot fluid secreting


The closet search

  • What is the one thing main character could hide in her closet that she would not want anyone to see?
  • Discover something about your character


Throwing the chair

  • What would cause your character to throw a chair out the window


Best day of her life / worst day of her life

  • Can set up situations that appear in the story
  • Worst days are particularly good for mining information


If your character had a tattoo on her arm, what would it say?


Your character has been put in jail for a long time.  To get Herself through it, she loses herself in a childhood memory.  What is it?


Opposition character

What does he yearn for?

Why does he think he deserves it?

What is his closing argument?


Eg Ronnie (Nicholas Cage) in Moonstruck

Operatic in his suffering


Don’t waste your minor characters

Comedic elements help break up suspense, minor characters are good for this,



Make each scene the best it can be


A great story is life with the dull parts taken out

  • Hitchcock


Cut the dull parts out of every scene


Examples of dull parts

  • No conflict
  • No internal pressure
  • Happy people in happy land


Image of two people who look happy

What is he thinking?

What is she thinking?



Simple conflict
Outright terror
Everything in between
Fear of the unknown
Fear of the known



Your thoughts and stuff

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