I have some big deadlines looming on the horizon, so, meeting with my “prison group” this past weekend was a necessity. Before you get the wrong idea, my writer friends and I call our commitment to each other to write on the weekends (usually in a local coffee shop) “prison”. We hold each others feet to the flames and it is often some of my most productive writing time.
On one of our short breaks we began discussing characterization and motivation One of us had that inkling that one of her characters and its motivation was not strong or clear enough. As we sussed through the problem, it quickly became evident that all of us tend to focus in deeper on one of the two main protagonists of our stories, even if it’s really designed to be a two hero story.
We tossed around some possible causes and tried to brainstorm some possible solutions. I’m going to list a few below, but — at least between us — it seems to be a common problem for writers, so I’m interested in hearing any tricks you have to making your characters in a romance story equally strong.
1) Defining inner conflict for both characters – One of the issues I find when I’m a brainstorming a story (remember I’m a pantster vs plotter) I tend to work of “what if” statements: “what if scenario XYZ happened.” The suggestion was made if I build a strong GMC for both characters around that scenario.
2) Consider “Conflict Lock” – A Bob Mayer concept (check out the video), the essence is to make sure your main character’s goals are in direct conflict with each other, for example: Both people want to purchase the same piece of land for different reasons.
3) Develop full back stories – (Off the page of course) One of the best ways to get an in focus look at a character is through a well developed back story, even if you don’t put every detail on the page. It’s good to know.
Do you have any tips of tricks for developing both your heroes fully?