Constructing literary work can be as difficult as scaling a mountain during a blizzard. Mental barriers clutter the mind, rendering the climb to success that much more a tedious, time-consuming task. As with any strenuous activity, preparation is key. If one intends to ascend the slippery slopes of creating a worthwhile piece, consulting a simple step-by-step process can lead to the top.
Before any writing takes place, writers should give birth to a character. Give them a name and detail their appearance. For those who have chosen not to include pictures in their work, it is critical to make the audience see the character. Avoid being vague with description. “Her eyes resembled emerald stone” is a far better way to convey how green a character’s eyes are than simply stating it in plain context. Once the audience can visualize the character, a new challenge arises: crafting a personality.
Is your character a loving soul or a heartless monster? These are only two of the numerous questions that can be considered in the development of a personality. This element gives explanation and depth to the character’s actions. Should you go with the idea of loving, warmhearted man, it is vital to stick to that. Have him do, say, and think things that reflect his personality, such as: being respectful, nonjudgmental, and forgiving. While personalities can certainly change, straying too far from the original outline of the character can lead you down the road to ruin. Always ensure there is a reason for what your character does. There should be a motive that explains drastic transitions. Never be random. It creates confusion for the audience and hurts the credibility of the previous traits you’ve given your character.
Due to having a solid personality, the audience now has an incentive to care about your character. Capitalize on their interest by adding a goal or dilemma. What drives your character? Pick something that applies directly to him or her and utilize that to push the story forward. Not only will the audience become invested in the character’s advancement, they will also be grounded within the happenings of the environment around them. Again, it is important to have a relatable foundation to link your character with. A loving, warmhearted man is not going to have the goal of murdering a child and a serial rapist will not have the dilemma of waiting for sex from his girlfriend.
The climax of the story can often be the most frustrating phase of this process, despite being the very last part. Here, you must decide what fate awaits your character. It is the final selling point of your work. Naturally, there is a need for an extraordinary outcome. Place the audience in the scene with the character. Let them experience what he or she is experiencing by incorporating the inner thoughts and feelings of the character as they reach the conclusion of your work. If you decide the last part or page of the piece is not the end, it is only polite to leave the possibility of a sequel open. A cliffhanger that halts the story in the middle of an action is a great way to give the audience hope for more.
Nevelious L. Jordan, IV is a writer for Wrightspeak. This post is the first in a series on writing exercises.