Another week has flown by, and here we are again, with another creative writing tip. 🙂
Thanks to everyone who responded with their thoughts on last week’s ideas on listening to music while you write. It seems that everyone finds something different helpful! Which just goes to show how unique we all are… and how essential it is that you write your stories, because no one can write them, but you.
Right, on to this week’s writing tip. This is something I talk about a lot, because I see it too often in manuscripts I am sent – characters who are either too nice, or too nasty. If you’re writing a pantomime, or a cartoon, or a fairytale, you can get away with caricatures, but if you’re writing a story that is relevant for today’s readers, you need to make your characters at least seem real. This really is vital.
All characters need to be ’rounded’, especially your protagonist. Of course, they need to be inspirational, but they also need to have flaws and issues. They need to get despondent when things go badly – or even get to the point of despair. They shouldn’t always be cheerful, always kind to everyone, or always helpful, especially to people who are treating them badly. Equally, they shouldn’t be always nasty or vicious!
Readers need to read about characters who, like them, want to do their best but sometimes struggle. Or even, sometimes, seek revenge! Who, when life throws them a curved ball, get upset. Who, when tragedy strikes, are filled with grief – and sometimes take it out on the people they love the most. These characters will be engaging, because readers will recognise something of themselves in them.
If your characters are courageous despite the difficulties, they will inspire. But make sure the struggle is real, and triumph not too easy –a hero is not a hero unless he or she has passed through a fight to win through.
Hope that helps! We spend a whole module looking at your protagonist in the Write for a Reason Academy, which you can now join any time to suit you. Katy, a writer-for-a-reason, started the course in January, and finished the course last week! Due to having children at home, she took longer than the ten weeks, but kept going. She told me:
“I finished the course last week!!! Such a wonderful moment. Really excited about the plan I’ve created and so much more confident and encouraged than when I started. Thank you Janet for pursuing this part of your calling to encourage others to write for Jesus, for modelling stepping out in courage and faith, and for all your effort in putting together this incredibly helpful course. It’s brilliant. x”
If you want to be where Katy is in a few weeks, with a full story plan, great characters and the confidence to get your story done, you can join the course here. Any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I set up the course to help anyone who writes Christian fiction for children and teens… because if you feel called to write, you need to get your story done – and we all need help to hone our gifts!
Have a wonderful Easter, celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have so much good news to share!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,
P.S. You can read more about the Write for a Reason Academy here. Please share with friends who write. Thank you!