Character Theory

What is either a picture or a novel that is not character Henry James That is, every fiction story hinges on the writer's handling of the people in the story. In particular, it is the central character, or protagonist, who makes the difference between a good story and a bad one. In fact, you can define a story as the prose description of a character attempting to solve a problem nothing more. And nothing less. In science fiction, the character need not be a human being. Science fiction stories...

Character Checklist

Listed on the following page are the seven major points I have made in this chapter. We will examine them again in chapter five to see how each point was followed in Fifteen Miles. 1. In a good story the reader forgets where he is and lives in the story the reader wants to be the protagonist. 2. The protagonist must be admirable, or at least likable, but he should have at least one glaring weakness that forms the underlying tension that drives the character's behavior. Capture those conflicting...

Giving Strength To Your Plots

For me, as a writer, the best way to build a good plot is to begin with a strong, sympathetic protagonist and put him into action against a similarly strong antagonist. Strong, in this context, does not necessarily mean the jutting jaw, steely eyes and bulging muscles of the typical old-time pulp magazine hero. In a novelette called The Dueling Machine which I later expanded into a novel , my protagonist was a gangling, bumbling young man who could barely walk across a room without getting into...

Plot Theory

Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I'll tell you a story. Gordon R. Dickson is not only a fine writer, but also one of the best story doctors I know. Writers take their problem stories to Gordy for advice. He was once asked, What makes a story tick His answer The time bomb that's set to explode on the last page. Every story is a race against time. Something is going to happen and, whether it is good or bad, the characters and events of the story are set up to get to the...