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Character: The People of your Story

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Writing a novel and getting it published: That's your goal. And nothing will keep you from making it happen. Such a goal, of course, presents a number of challenges. Make sure you have the tools you need to overcome them and succeed.

In THE NOVEL WRITER'S TOOLKIT, NY Times Best-Selling author
Bob Mayer shares a veteran writer's hard-won advice with a style that's
straight from the hip. He lays out the nuts and bolts of novel writing, along
with guidelines for starting, finishing and revising your work.

You'll learn how to:
Develop story-worthy ideas
Translate those ideas into a compelling plot
-- one that keeps readers mesmerized
Pace your story for maximum excitement
Create realistic, complicated characters
Submit attention-getting manuscripts

Self-contained chapters make it easy to focus on the just the elements you
need. Take in the advice, sharpen your skills, and hit the ground running.

Mayer provides all the reliable information and instruction you need to make your dreams of publication come true.

What are you waiting for? THE NOVEL WRITER'S TOOLKIT ensures
that you're properly equipped for success!

“A book to inspire, instruct and challenge the writer in everyone.”
#1 NY Times Best-Selling Author Susan Wiggs

"An invaluable resource for beginning and seasoned writers alike. Don't miss out."
#1 NY Times Best-Selling Author Terry Brooks

"Something for every writer, from neophyte to old hand. My hat is off to Bob." Best-Selling Mystery Writer Elizabeth George

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Character: The People of your Story

  1. 1. CHARACTER: The People Of Your Story
  2. 2. Character Is Pre-Eminent •Emotion is more important than logic. •Mission or the Men? •Goals are what characters are striving for. •Motivation is why they are striving for their goals.
  3. 3. “Therefore I say: Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated.” Sun Tzu
  4. 4. Motivation •Every character thinks the story is about them. •Everyone has a core motivation. •Victor Frankl called this the ‘One Thing.’ •The motivation can be anything. • The motivation must be believable to the reader.
  5. 5. Layers Of Motivation •What do you want? •What do you really want? •What do you need? •These correspond to the turning points.
  6. 6. •It is a feeling of alarm or disquiet caused by the expectation of danger, pain, or the like. •Heroism is taking action in the face of fear. •Fear is an emotion. •It often stems from uncertainty. •It is often the primary motivator for people as we require base needs to be fulfilled first. What Is Fear?
  7. 7. Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Self- Actualization Esteem Belongingness and Love Safety Needs Physiological Needs
  8. 8. CHARACTER: Exercise One •Where on Maslow’s hierarchy is your protagonist at the beginning of the book? At the end? •Where on Maslow’s hierarchy is your antagonist at the beginning of the book? At the end?
  9. 9. “All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Lawrence of Arabia Be a dreamer of the day and reality: from Who Dares Wins.
  10. 10. Blind Spot •Needs produce blind spots. •Everyone has blind spots. •As an author, make sure you know yours. •Strongest defenses are built around the blind spot. Therefore . . . •Often the blind spot is the part of character thought to be the strongest. •Denial defends blinds spot and justifies needs. •Blind spots are the making of tragedy.
  11. 11. Pathological Need •In a moment of crisis, what is the driving force? •It is a need, not a want. •Every need has a corresponding flaw.
  12. 12. Trait Need Flaw • Loyal • Adventurous • Altruistic • Tolerant • Decisive • Realistic • Competitive • Idealistic • To be trusted • To have change • To be loved • To have no conflict • To be in charge • To be balanced • To achieve goals • To be the best • Gullible • Unreliable • Submissive • No conviction • Impetuous • Outer control • Overlook cost • Naive
  13. 13. CHARACTER: Exercise Two •What is your protagonist’s blind spot? •What is your antagonist’s blind spot?
  14. 14. Develop Characters • Where do you characters come from? • Invented or real life? • How does the reader meet them? • How do you get to know people? • First scene. • What is the key point in their life? • Domino theory. • Motivation. • Do you know everything about your character? • You have to. • Reader doesn’t have to. • Less is better.
  15. 15. Types Of Characters •Protagonist: The person who owns the story. •Antagonist: Person in opposition. •Supporting characters (named). •Spear Carriers (not named).
  16. 16. Protagonist •Drives the main story line. •Always have one. •Reluctant protagonists. •Empathetic protagonists. •Negative protagonists. •What if your protagonist fails? •Protagonist would usually fail in climactic scene as they are as the book opens. •If they fail, reveals what’s at stake in your story.
  17. 17. Antagonist •Always have one. •Should be human. •Has a believable motivation. •If removed, the plot collapses. •Usually drives the plot initially by introducing the problem. •Do the antagonist’s plan. •Stronger antagonist= stronger protagonist.
  18. 18. Characters In Conflict •Conflict is rooted in different motivations, even if they want the same thing. •Three levels to motivation: inner, personal, universal. •Fear is often a primary motivator. •Often your protagonist must overcome fear, even if it isn’t their primary motivator.
  19. 19. Show, Don’t Tell •Actions speak louder than words. •Do your characters react ‘naturally’? •Give the spark of redemption. •How do your characters react in a crisis?
  20. 20. Character Description •Keep it brief and distinctive. •You’re not writing a personal ad. •Use placeholders if it helps. •Cliche: Having character look in a mirror. •Can use other points of view to describe other characters.
  21. 21. Character Names •Choose a name that fits the character, evokes personality, but doesn’t make the reader giggle. •Choose a name that can be read without causing the reader to pause. •In prose, use only one name for each character. •Try to avoid names that begin with the same letter.
  22. 22. Character And Community •Your character is part of a larger cast. •Most people want a sense of community. •Community give you great latitude in tone, pacing, POV. •Community often forms around one character.
  23. 23. Kinds Of Community • Ensemble casts. • Disposable characters. • Characters can fill roles. • Romance. • Must meet early. • As protagonist and antagonist? • Buddy stories. • Usually just meet. • The protagonist is the one who drives the story.
  24. 24. Character Templates •Instead of inventing from scratch. •Or using real people. •Also use these to understand characters and real people. •Use what experts have already done for you: •Profiling •Archetypes •Myers-Briggs
  25. 25. Profiling •FBI Behavioral Science Unit: John Douglas: MINDHUNTER-- tracking serial killers. •But you can profile anyone. •99% of what we do is habit. •Habit= behavior patterns. •Examine the results and work back.
  26. 26. CHARACTER: Exercise Three •What is your protagonist’s profile for a normal day? •What is your antagonist’s profile for a normal day? •What is your profile for your normal day?
  27. 27. Archetypes-- Gender Differences
  28. 28. Myers-Briggs •Developed in 1943. •Not a test, but an indicator, so there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ labels. •Four areas, two possible orientations to each, equals 16 character ‘types’. •However, the actual test is a sliding scale.
  29. 29. AREA 1 BLOCK A BLOCK B • Act first, think later? • Feel deprived if cutoff from interacting with the outside world? • Tend to be motivated by the outside world? • Get energized by groups? • Think first, then act? • Require ‘private’ time to get energized? • Tend to be internally motivated? • Groups drain your energy?
  30. 30. AREA 2 BLOCK A BLOCK B • Mentally live in the now? • Use common sense for practical solutions? • Your memory focuses on details and fact? • Don’t like guessing? • Mentally live in the future? • Use imagination for innovative solutions? • Your memory focuses on patterns and context? • Comfortable with guessing?
  31. 31. AREA 3 BLOCK A BLOCK B • Search for facts when making a decision? • Notice work to be accomplished? • Tend to provide an objective analysis? • Believe conflict is a normal part of relationships with people? • Focus on feelings when making a decision? • Focus on people’s needs? • Seek consensus and popular opinions? • Dislike conflict and avoid it if at all possibe?
  32. 32. AREA 4 BLOCK A BLOCK B • Plan details before taking action? • Focus on tasks and complete them in order? • Keep ahead of deadlines to avoid stress and work optimally? • Set targets, dates and routines to manage your life? • Are comfortable moving into action without a plan? • Like to multitask and can mix work with play? • Work best closer to deadlines? • Avoid commitments that might interfere with your freedom and flexibility?
  33. 33. Results • 1A= Extrovert (E) • 2A= Sensing (S) • 3A= Thinking (T) • 4A= Judging (J) • 1B= Introvert (I) • 2B= iNtuition (N) • 3B= Feeling (F) • 4B= Perceiving (P)
  34. 34. Myers-Brigs Types • INTP= Architect • ENTP= Inventor • INTJ= Scientist • ENTJ= Field Marshall • INFP= Questor • ENFP= Journalist • INFJ= Author • ENJF= Pedagogue • ESJF= Seller • ISFJ= Conservator • ESFP= Entertainer • ISFP= Artist • ESTJ= Administrator • ISTJ= Trustee • ESTP= Promoter • ISTP= Artisan
  35. 35. Extroversion vs. Introversion • This is how we view the world. • Extroverts are social. Introverts are territorial. • Extroverts prefer breadth and a wide variety of personal communications. Introverts prefer depth and one on one. • Extroverts tend to be externally motivated. Introverts tend to be internally motivated. • 75% Extroverts 25% Introverts.
  36. 36. Intuition vs. Sensation • Innovative vs. Practical. • This is how we think. • This is the greatest source of misunderstanding between people. • 25% Intuitive 75% Sensation
  37. 37. Thinking vs. Feeling • The thinking part of our brain analyzes and decides in a detached manner. • The feeling part of our brain analyzes and decides in an attached manner. • Impersonal vs. personal. • This is how we make decision and act. • Logic vs. emotion. • 50% Thinking 50% Feeling but . . . • More men are Thinking and more women are Feeling.
  38. 38. Judging vs. Perceiving. • Closure vs. Open-ended. • This is how we approach our endeavors. • Results or process? • 50% Judging 50% Perceiving.
  39. 39. Myers-Briggs Types • INTP= Architect • ENTP= Inventor • INTJ= Scientist • ENTJ= Field Marshall • INFP= Questor • ENFP= Journalist • INFJ= Author • ENJF= Pedagogue • ESJF= Seller • ISFJ= Conservator • ESFP= Entertainer • ISFP= Artist • ESTJ= Administrator • ISTJ= Trustee • ESTP= Promoter • ISTP= Artisan
  40. 40. “Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thoughts in clear form.” Albert Einstein
  41. 41. Change?
  42. 42. Change?
  43. 43. Change?
  44. 44. Character And Change •Can people change? •Change produces character arc. •You want to show change, not tell it. •Change requires three things to happen . . .
  45. 45. Moment Of Enlightenment •Experience something never experienced before. •Experience something you’ve experience before, but it affects you differently than ever before. •This is the classic ‘’light bulb going on’. •By itself, it is not change, just a momentary awareness.
  46. 46. Decision •Because of the Moment of Enlightenment, a decision is made. •It is not necessarily a good decision. •Character is then •Stuck with the decision (externally imposed change) or •Sticks with the decision (internally motivated change) •By itself, a decision is not change, just a fleeting commitment.
  47. 47. Sustained Action •Because of the decision, behavior is changed. •The changed behavior is sustained long enough to become habit. •In the military, this is called training. •The 5% rule for external and internal sustained action. •Sustained action leads to change.
  48. 48. CHARACTER: Exercise Five •What is your protagonist’s moment of enlightenment? •What decision does your protagonist make because of that? •What sustained action does your protagonist do that produces change?
  49. 49. The Stages Of Change •Denial •Anger •Bargaining •Depression •Acceptance
  50. 50. •We see it. •They act differently. How Do We Know When Someone Has Changed?
  51. 51. The Climax & Character Arc •By the end of the book we want to know our protagonist has changed. •Take your protagonist as she is at the beginning of the book and put her in the climactic scene. •She should fail. •If she does, then you have arc.
  52. 52. The Resolution & Character Arc •By the end of the book we want to know our protagonist has changed. •We need to see them do something emotional they weren’t capable of doing at the beginning of the book. •This completes the character arc that is the core of your book.
  53. 53. For More Information click on covers The Complete Writer is four books at discount in one bundle.
  54. 54. New York Times bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret, and feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Time Patrol, Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world he now lives peacefully with his wife and labs. Sort of. Free books below available HERE www.bobmayer.com
  55. 55. Original Idea Conflict the Fuel of Your Story and the Conflict Box Plot I: Research and Narrative Questions Plot II: Outlining Plot III: Narrative Structure Character Point of View Write It Forward: From Writer to Bestselling Author Writers Conference Guide (Free eBook) Three P’s: Platform, Product, Promotion Writers’ Block and Rewriting How to Write the Query/Synopsis Planning for NaNoWriMo Success Bob Mayer’s Workshops, Seminars & Presentations Your Creative Process: How You Write The Present and Future of Publishing for Writers Writers Workshop and Retreat ON WRITING SLIDESHARES
  56. 56. Writing Scenic Workshop •An intense, on-premises workshop focusing on idea, conflict, story and the ever- changing business of publishing. •At our house on Scenic Drive in Knoxville, TN •Most importantly, this workshop focuses on developing your creative process as a writer. •Led by Bob Mayer and his wife, Debbie. •We’ve worked with everyone from #1 NY Times best-selling authors to novices writing their first book. •Limited to four people per workshop. This workshop can also come to you if you have four interested writers. For schedule contact bob@bobmayer.com

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