#1 Posted by TEHMAXXORZ (1190 posts) -

So as very few people know, I've been writing a 'novel' of sorts since around 2006 (around easter I think), but now I am stuck and I need help. Basically I have finished writing the story, I've read over it about six times and edited each read through. But I feel I haven't fleshed out the characters enough and I need to find a way to insert emotions into the story without sounding like it was never there in the first place (in short, awkward). I have read the blog(s) Through a Writer's eyes (will edit in the authors username) and I have found it is good advice, but it hasn't fully covered my predicament.

So, seeing as no other human being has even read this 'transcript' I need help adding character to the characters.

#2 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3053 posts) -

my advice would be to rewrite it.

That's going to sound shitty, but rewriting a scene (or even the whole book) works much better than trying to awkwardly jam additional stuff in destroys the continuity and flow of a scene very quickly. I recently ruined a novel sub by doing this myself, although mine was the folly of trying to hit a certain word count.

An author I know actually goes as far as printing two copies of his latest draft manuscript and then deleting the file so that he HAS to rewrite it. I don't go that far, but I do make it it point to print and then begin typing in a new document.

It allows you to inject new detail much more organically, and will also show you troublesome scenes you might have missed initially.

Good luck!

#3 Posted by pixieface (122 posts) -

Leave it alone for a while and let it stew in the back of your head. Don't feel pressured to publish as soon as possible or to make it absolutely perfect. Giving your work room to breathe can do wonders to rejuvenate your creative juices.

Good characters are little people that bang their fists against the walls of your skull and demand that you write them and that you do it now. Bad characters sit there and stare at their twiddling thumbs waiting for you to tell them what to do. If you want to make your characters compelling, they need to have their own desires to start with. Those desires should come into conflict with goals and other desires. Conflict is drama. And not just conflict, but conflict between people you care for and can relate to. Start studying your favorite characters from books, television shows, and movies. What makes them fascinating?

One of my favorite television characters is Zuko from The Last Airbender. He thinks all he needs is to capture the Avatar to be happy again. But what he really wants is to feel loved and accepted. What he actually needs is to overcome his hate for what the world has thrown at him and to let go of his old life in order to accept a new one. The fun in watching Zuko is seeing how his character changes internally in response to the barrage of obstacles in his way, and seeing that change translates physically through his hair and his outfits. His character arc is a very human one that many kids trying to find themselves can relate to.

#4 Posted by SSully (4610 posts) -

@pixieface: pixieface said it best so far. I would wait it out and just reread some of your favorite novels or read something new. Pick something that has great characters.

Whenever I have written something with characters in it I try to picture the characters before I actually write them in. I try to make up people with traits, talents, quirks, and things that make them seem real. Soon enough this character will become real to you, and they basically write themselves. If you can create a character that you know like the back of your hand then you can throw them into any situation and just know how they will react. The best way I find to think of characters is to just think of characters from books you love or people you have in your life. Hell even just start watching people when you go out. Pick people out at a bar or the grocery store and try to picture what they are like. Give them traits and put them into little stories as you are going about your day. It is a lot of fun and you might even make up a character you like along the way.

Good luck duder, you will succeed if you keep working at it.

#5 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (689 posts) -

I always try to write extensive story of all my characters. You put them in situations outside the story you want to write, and try to understand how they would react and why. Like this, you can have a clear idea of who they are.

Also, listen to pixieface. He's right.

#6 Posted by craigbo180 (1763 posts) -

Men don't have feelings, they have muscles.

#7 Posted by Virago (2563 posts) -

What if you do some creative writing stuff, like, pick a scene or chapter, and write it as if Shepard or someone was narrating it.

Or send it to a former teacher or someone with a background in literature, and have them retell the plot/characters to you, and what you think they've missed, expound upon.

Good luck!

#8 Edited by Still_I_Cry (2522 posts) -

You could always try and imagine them as if they were people you were talking to. You could also try and imagine it as if it were a movie and you were watching, try and judge whether the actors are hollow and if you think the dialogue would be considered abysmal or inadequate regarding the rest of the movie.

Or get a fresh pair of eyes to read over it.