Characters
3 Reasons Your Story Needs an Antagonist as Well as a Villain

3 Reasons Your Story Needs an Antagonist as Well as a Villain

Antagonists and villains are often used interchangeably. But they’re not identical. Though they’re both defined as an opponent, that’s where the similarities end. A villain is deliberately and personally invested in thwarting the hero’s cause. An antagonist, however, is just doing his job, trying to survive, or pursuing a goal that happens to clash with the hero’s.

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How Gender and Age Should Affect Characters’ Emotions

How Gender and Age Should Affect Characters’ Emotions

“Gah! This book gave me all the feels.” We love when a story leaves a lasting impression, and we hope our own writing garners a similar response. Emotions have such a huge influence on our relationships, choices, and habits. And our society is obsessed with learning about the human psyche. Kids are introduced to gender identity and taught emotional awareness at increasingly younger ages.

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How to Create Characters with Relatable Emotions

How to Create Characters with Relatable Emotions

Great stories have a broad emotional range that sends readers looping through laughter, soaring toward ecstasy, and plummeting into despair. When we open a new book, we hope it’s our ticket to a rollercoaster we’ll never forget. Unfortunately, building this thrill ride as a writer is challenging.

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How to Create Characters with Relatable Thoughts

How to Create Characters with Relatable Thoughts

You open a book, and after several pages, you’re not yourself anymore. You’ve become the character. He’s different from you, yet somehow the same. When he remembers someone’s face but not their name, you smile sympathetically—even though your memory has always been sharp. That’s because his foibles seem true to life.

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4 Ways to Pull the Plot Back Out of Your Character’s Head

4 Ways to Pull the Plot Back Out of Your Character’s Head

As writers, we love exploring the internal struggles that shape our characters. During formative moments, emotional turmoil may need to take center stage, as with Thomas in Nadine Brandes’ Fawkes. Usually this scene happens near the story’s middle, when everything—including the protagonist—seems to be falling apart. Turning points deserve emphasis; otherwise the deep change in the character’s arc will seem artificial or glossed over.

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