Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I’ve been struggling with my second WIP. It’s lacking the tension and pace of my first MS. If feel like my characters are milling around—being boring. This past weekend I had an epiphany!

I’m going to make my character face his greatest fear. I’m going to make this fear follow him around the story—pick, pick, picking at him like Chinese water torture. It’s going to create awesome conflict and tension, and it will force him to change.

What are your characters greatest fears?

  • Shame
  • Betrayal
  • Worthlessness
  • Abandonment
  • Change
  • Stagnation
  • Snakes, spiders, peanutbutter :)

I did this very thing in my completed MS, but I didn’t think about it as I wrote. It just happened organically.

Putting your characters in situations that make them face their fears can help them resolve their inner conflict and move your plot along.



Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I think having a spider that big on my head MIGHT be my biggest fear. Or if someone made me wear that outfit. Or if someone drugged me and cut my hair like that....

Angie Cothran said...

Shelly-You are too funny! Now you've given away all the information your enemies need to know about you. You better watch your back :)

Kim said...

What great advice - I've been thinking about my main character and how her fear is a little undefined - something a little vague and nebulous - I'm sure if I could better define it, it would produce better tension in the story...

Amy Dahlke said...

I had a character who was really terrified by failure so she either wouldn't do anything or would just be a total perfectionist to the point of personal injury(okay, not really that much). Its a good-ish story. Maybe I'll finish it someday.

My biggest fear is washcloths. And can you believe there is a name for the fear of butterflies but not washcloths? What is so scary about a beautiful fluttery instect?!

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