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Character and Suspense

Character Driven Fiction, Character Summary
by

David Keck

on 9 February 2016

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Transcript of Character and Suspense

Discussing Character
Character & Plot
What kinds of people do we root for? (What kinds of characters do we sympathize with?)
Big Question
Motivation vs Obstacle = Story
Obstacles happen on every page!
Character Driven Key Words
The way the problems of story turn out.
Somebody, Wanted, But, So...
Obstacle
Sympathetic
Character
Resolution?
If you like a character, you care what happens to them. Writers like us to connect. How?
Sympathy?
We connect with likeable people.
We connect with admirable people: "Aspirational" Characters
We connect with people like us: "Relatable" Characters
Character Based Summary
Obstacle
Somebody
Motivation
So...
Character
Wanted
But...
Resolution
You can summarize most stories with Somebody, Wanted, But, So... (Character, Motivation, Obstacle, Resolution).
Character & Change
Character & Suspense
Character & Theme
A character's learning process is called a
"character arc."
A character arc is the way a character changes in a story.
In most stories, the important characters are changed by the story. The story makes a character realize something about himself or the world. The character learns or changes or grows. (The change can be good or bad).
Event
Event
Event
Change
Crisis
Character Change: The Secret to Theme
If you have trouble thinking about theme in a story, look closely at how characters change. The lessons the characters learn are usually about theme.
Talking About Character
Determined
Adventurous
Thoughtful
Tall
Clumsy
Insecure
Fifteen
Cheerful
Depressed
Loyal
Fun-loving
Short
Thin
Pretty
To begin, we can describe a character's appearance and personality (aka. "
physical characteristics
" and "
character traits
").
Mother
Younger Sister
Doctor
We can also talk about a character's relationships (friends, family, employers, teachers, etc.).
Beyond the Basics
Determined
Adventurous
Thoughtful
Tall
Clumsy
Insecure
Fifteen
Cheerful
Depressed
Loyal
Fun-loving
Short
Thin
Pretty
Mother
Sister
Doctor
There is more to talking about characters than traits and relationships.
Characters can be at the center of the plot and the theme.
Co-Worker
Traits & Relationships
Obstacle
But...
Character
Obstacle
Sympathy
Motivation
Resolution
A fictional person
Feeling of support or connection for another person.
What you want or need.
Something that makes it hard for you to succeed.
When someone you like is in trouble, you have to turn the pages!
(That's suspense).
Somebody
Wanted
But
So
Red Riding Hood
to bring food to grandma
a wolf attacked!
a woodcutter had to save them all...
http://prezi.com/jmjmdokcwdun/character-traits-relationships/?kw=view-jmjmdokcwdun&rc=ref-137683
Character Traits & Relationships
Character Change & Theme
Want to Know More?
http://prezi.com/bcae5ly3q4qy/character-change-theme/?kw=view-bcae5ly3q4qy&rc=ref-137683
"Aspirational" and "Relatable" are new words used in politics and advertising.
Suspense
The feeling of nervousness or excitement caused by wondering what will happen.
Creating Suspense
Basics:
In Narrative?
Make them worry or wonder and leave them hanging.
Make them sympathize with a character, then make things hard for that character.
Suspense comes from what you worry about!
Increase Suspense?
To increase suspense make things harder for a character.
Make us connect, then make life hard!
Raise the stakes!
Unexpected reversals (setbacks!)
http://video.pbs.org/video/2272950873/
check out 2:22 - 3:10
Full transcript