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Tag Archives: characters
When I read or write fiction, I like seeing characters make bad decisions and then deal with the consequences. However, if they make those decisions for implausible reasons, they can appear silly or inconsistent rather than attracting sympathy. If they’re … Continue reading
Growing up, two of my favorite things were books and video games. If you’d told me twenty years ago that I’d grow up to write both, I probably would have choked on my Mountain Dew.
But over the past few years, I’ve been doing exactly that. I’ve written the Recoletta series, a science fantasy trilogy published by Angry Robot, and I’ve worked as a narrative designer at Obsidian Entertainment for three and a half years now, writing for the Pillars of Eternity games and expansions.
The implementation, however, often differs, simply because the user experience between a linear, tightly-paced novel and an open-ended, exploration-heavy game differs. At the end of the day, the writer’s goal is always to draw her audience into a world and its story, and the best tools remain engaging characters and consistency between the big picture and the little details.
So, how many people have you killed? I mean, characters. And how long have you been doing it? I have to confess: It was hard for me to kill my first character, but after that it got easier. I actually … Continue reading
I’ve been teaching an advanced workshop that’s been a lot of fun. I gave them one of my favorite texts, an issue of Swamp Thing by Alan Moore called “Pog.” You might want to read it before proceeding on to the discussion of it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
I picked that text because it has a high degree of emotional impact. It was a great starting point for talking about how to create that in a piece of fiction. In discussing how Moore achieved that, we realized that it is primarily constructed through the characters. While it’s nice to see the images, they are not the primary source of the impact.
A bajillion years ago, when you could send the Science Fiction Book Club $.11 and get 11 books back, I signed up, receiving a fabulous armful particularly valuable back in the days when the Internet was just kicking off. One … Continue reading
We’re currently covering characters in the Writing F&SF class, so I thought I’d pull out a little from my notes.
Some simplistic stories have characters that seem like placeholders, as though any individual could fit into that slot. Fairy tales, for instance, tend to have generic characters: the princess, the prince, the witch. One delightful strategy for working with them, in fact, is to pick a character and flesh them out to the point where they shape the story.
Characters need to do this. They need to influence the story and make it one that could only happen to them.