Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Character Driven Stories, Part I/Calls for submissions for adult and teen writers

Characters are the driving force behind a story’s depth. As the plot unfolds, the choices a character makes define the story outcome.

Get to know your character before you begin writing. Knowing your character helps you keep the character’s voice, dialog, and actions consistent. A teenage character should sound like a teenager throughout the story and the dialog should reflect that voice. A five-year-old should sound and act his age.

Create a profile of your character through an interview. This short list can be used as a guide.

Character Profile

Family members
Is behavior ruled by emotions or logic?
Type of Personality
Favorite expressions
Odd quirks

Add to this list as needed. You might want to know more about the parents, pet peeves, and attitudes or you may want to skip some items. Develop a list that pertains to your character and story. Experiment to determine what works best for you. As your character grows you may want to add particular personality traits to the list.

Write the answers in the character’s voice. Be as detailed or as brief as you wish. Again, determine what works best for you. The information you write is actually a biography of the character.

Developing a character profile is a good way to organize thoughts about a character, to keep character continuity, and to reveal minute character details to readers. When you know your character as well as you know yourself, you can more easily create a character that is believable, captivating, and unique. Character subtleties affect the way the plot unfolds and the problem is resolved.

In my next post, I’ll focus on character-driven stories.

River Styx. A multicultural journal of poetry, prose and art. River Styx publishes works of both new and established artists significant for their originality, energy and deft of craft. The high quality of its form and content have made it a leader among literary magazines for 30 years. River Styx has been included in many editions of the Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, New Stories from the South, and Pushcart Prize anthologies. We publish poetry, short fiction, essays, interviews, drawings and photographs. If your work is the best that it can be and you deem it fits with the established style and content of our magazine, please send it to River Styx.
Deadline: Until November, so hurry.
Details at

Frodo's Notebook is looking for well-crafted poems, creative essays, and short stories by teens age 13-19 from all around the world.
Details at

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