Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Writer’s Guide
Character Sketches Part III

In addition to Word of the Day and Grammar Guide, this site for writers includes items that relate to the artistic side of the craft of writing. So we’re doing a series on Character Sketches. If you missed Parts I and II, you can find them in the archives on Thursday, February 8, and Thursday, February 15.

As I pointed out before, sketching out your characters is as important as sketching out the plot of your story (and we’ll talk about storyboarding in an upcoming Writer’s Guide). You need to be intimately involved with the people or creatures who carry your plot. I’ve given you an exercise to learn some of the top momentous events in your characters’ lives and talked about the importance of giving your main characters a good (but solvable) flaw/faulty life view to make him or her relatable.

Now, did you catch that little parenthetical in there? Solvable. You want the character’s faulty life view to be solvable. The flaw or faulty life view of your main character should get solved during the “character arc”. If you don’t solve this by the end of the book/story, ah, well, ah, perhaps an editor can help you rework your ending…

The character arc is the process the main character goes through specifically to solve (a) his or her problems (faulty life view) and (b) to save the day/solve the mystery/finish the plot/save the damsel in distress/banish Lex Luther. You get the idea. In the case of Choices Meant for Gods, Amanda Chariss Derdriu must overcome the fear of being without her wizard and embrace the responsibilities she was born to take on. Now, this doesn’t mean she has to do everything without her wizard at her side. (Good Heavens, Hrazon wouldn’t leave her alone in this battle even if the gods showed up and ordered him to.) But this heroine has tasks to complete that Hrazon can’t do for her, and she must learn independence. This is something the reader can relate to, and, by the end of Book I of the Choices trilogy, she’s completed the first of the arcs she must go through.

What solvable life view did you find in your main character from last week’s Writer’s Guide? Now think of how you plan to solve it by the end of the character’s arc. Share! Let’s discuss this!

“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”

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