Monday, May 25, 2015

Page-Turning Heroes and Villains

"Not every plot is designed to be a page-turner." I appreciated hearing that statement from Jennifer A. Nielsen at the LDStorymakers conference, where I took her class about Crafting the Page-Turner. There are varying types of emotional rides for different kinds of books. We want the reader to want to read on, but not every scene has to be high on the excitement Richter scale. Phew! Glad to recognize that important detail. Every scene should be a fight scene (not a battle), in that someone struggles to get something they want.
Jennifer spoke about the necessary elements of a page-turner, plotting, heroes and villains, the writing part, and questions to ask about your story. All good stuff. Since I can only give you a tease about the class (it's her material for paying attendees, after all), today I'm sharing a few things about page-turning heroes and villains. These characters are more important than the plot.
A villain can be a non-person, like a shark, earthquake, or illness. This Antagonist should be more likely to win; it gives us that worry factor. The villain's motivation needs to be stronger than simply because he is crazy or evil for evil's sake. Give her a real motivation where she is more equipped to triumph than the hero.

The hero needs a clear and desperate goal. He wants something and how badly he wants it needs to show. Your hero needs to be smart and proactive. Give her unexpected qualities rather than stereotypical or common ones. Don't make them perfect.

Nielsen says to be cruel to the characters you love--mentally, physically, etc. Beat them up or force them to make tough choices so they can grow. Hmm. Do you think that means the villain should grow along with the hero? Who are some favorite heroes and villains you have enjoyed?

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