For example, you know Character A is placid usually but gets riled when injustice rears its ugly head. In your story, they suddenly face injustice and throw a vase against a wall, startling whoever they’re with at the time (especially if they just miss them!). You know that capacity is there. It will be just how angrily they react which is where the surprise will be.
It’s funny how odd moments can inspire stories. Today I discovered Lady thought slowworms were a kind of wriggly stick she could either play with or eat! Not to worry. No slowworms were harmed and I just need to keep Lady away from them.
I suspect there could be comic potential here! I also have forewarning of how she is likely to be towards grass snakes! Now the obvious story here would be from the viewpoint of a dog owner, the dog, or even the slowworm (“good grief, what was
that monstrous thing?). But there is a bigger well to drain from here based on the theme of unexpected discoveries and there should be plenty of story ideas there.
Pushing your characters to breaking point is fun! Hey, nobody said writers had to be nice, did they?
The fun comes in as you find out just what your people are made of. Do they have a core of granite or one of melted jelly? Once you know, how can you bring that into your story to increase the drama?
Conflict, the lifeblood of all storytelling, doesn’t just have to be about external clashes after all.
Fairytales With Bite
In my CFT post this week, I’ve looked at what I value most. It won’t come as a huge surprise to know I’ve included family, friends, and literacy in this, amongst other important things.
What is it that your characters value most? As with me, it is highly unlikely to be just one thing, but you should be able to deduce which your characters would fight for and which they wouldn’t. It should also be apparent why they would feel this way.
It can be useful information for an enemy, of course. What can they use against your heroes here? What does the enemy value that could be used against them? (It’s never a one-way street in fiction but you can exploit that).
See this as an invaluable part of an outline and have fun working out how you can use a character’s values to strengthen their portrayal and
against them to generate conflict.
Hope you find the following useful. The following list is a guide to checking if your created world makes sense to a reader.
Can a reader picture your world in their imagination?
Can a reader identify with your characters? They don’t have to like them though!
Does your world have a system of government that makes sense to your reader? Someone has to be in charge. Your characters should know who they would be answerable to!
How do your characters survive on a daily basis? They will have to eat, drink, breath, excrete, reproduce, and die (unless they’re immortals of course but could anything threaten that?).
By ensuring you can answer these points, you will
have a functioning created world of your own.