Creating Passion in Your Characters

More notes from the RT Convention in New Orleans last week:

Creating Passion (Passion Potion)

Heart – the journey that the characters take or are forced to take
  • Act 1 – the default action – the way the character starts. Ex; the alpha hero is a loner. Why? Control freak? Trauma, abuse?
  • Act 2 – 90% of the book – how the character changes over the story and why – the character may try and fail to change several times during the book before s/he suceeds – try over and over
  • Act 3 – how the character emerges – s/he gains trust, acceptance, etc.
The hero and heroine both have arcs – it can be the same issues or different – it can be different arcs or journeys to end up together in the end.
One way to develop the character is to pick the worst moment of his/her life – maybe his secret shame. It doesn’t have to be part of the story, but it will be part of the character and help explain why s/he reacts and behaves as he does.
If someone is nasty, give them a reason to be that way.
Give each character a “first” – something they have never experienced before.
Write a specific action that symbolizes their achievement (hero hates pancakes, heroine loves them, at the end, the hero eats pancakes because he loves her).
Figure out what is the worst thing that could happen to your character, and then make it happen.
Do an index card for every scene:

-/+ (notes about the emotional arc)
>< (notes about the conflict)
1.  Location – get creative – make it believable but unexpected
2.  POV
  • deep 3rd is almost as good as 1st and it allows for different POV
  • whose POV to use? The most intense one
  • helps the readers to think they are living another life
  • even when the POV switches one character won’t know what the other one is doing – allows for the reader to be in on the secret.
3.  Write the scene in a few words
4.  +/- emotional arc – start the scene with one emotion, end with another
5.  >< conflict – what causes the emotional arc – every scene needs one
“Scene and Sequel” – the idea that each scene needs another scene that reflects on what just happened and gives the reader a moment to pause. Not every scene needs one. 


Tomorrow:  Creating Knockout Covers

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