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May 28th, 2010

11:42 pm: Rant on loyalty
This is partially about loyalty and partially about the characterization of traitors. Because I wanted it to be.

When loyalty is (and isn’t) a virtue )

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July 4th, 2007

04:49 pm: Turning idealistic characters gray
Before I start, I just want to make it clear that, in this case, I’m not lumping all characters who have strong beliefs into the idealistic set. This rant deals, instead, with protagonists or secondaries who have both strong ideals and a lack of information about how they apply to the pragmatic world, or about their consequences.

So this rant is about moving them towards seeing those applications, or those consequences )

The next rant will be on fantasy-and-science-fiction hybrids.

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April 1st, 2007

09:08 pm: Mentor rant
A few people have asked for a rant on mentors, so here it is.

How to keep your teacher from becoming a pale imitation of Gandalf )

No idea what will be next, yet.

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March 22nd, 2006

11:56 am: Characters with sympathy
Note: This is not a rant on “sympathetic characters,” which tends to get parsed as “characters the reader will sympathize with.” This is about characters who have the faculty of sympathy themselves for other characters in the story, and letting them express it.

It’s not as easy as one two three )

I am currently pondering doing the next rant on why complexity is just so damn great.

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June 29th, 2005

08:02 pm: Rant on friendships
This one is on friendships.

Whee! )

Well, would you look at that. The rant about things I think are really cool is next.

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April 26th, 2005

10:44 pm: Rant on creating distinct minor characters
This one does require some defining of terms, because “minor character” means different things to different people. To me, they are the third level of characters, two steps away from “protagonist” (who usually gets the most development, is often the person whose mind we share, and usually the person we’re supposed to cheer for) and one step away from “secondary character” (who receives at least some development, usually has an importance—such as sidekick or love interest—to the protagonist, and is supposed to occasion our sorrow if he or she dies). Minor characters are the ones who show up for at least a few scenes, have, if not a name, some recognizable features, and are necessary for the plot. Just because they’re so often functional, however, is no reason not to make them distinctive.

I almost feel like apologizing; so much of this is common sense )

I have not moved an inch in Lord of Snow and Shadows, in part because each minor character is a stereotype. There is no one for me to sympathize with in that book, and I’m thinking of giving it up altogether.

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February 17th, 2005

09:02 pm: Rant on fleshing out secondary and tertiary characters
Warning: This one gets rather long )

I am quite pleased with myself at the moment.

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February 7th, 2005

11:38 pm: Rant on non-protagonist children
The title of this rant could be a little confusing, so I’ll just clarify: I meant children who were not the protagonist, as opposed to books about a child or teenager who tries to win back the throne/save the world/destroy the One Ring Golden Treasure of Hwortnoth. They might be children along for the quest, encountered in the villages on the way, or kidnapped by the villains.

And so here we go… )

Rant on greed is next.

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July 12th, 2004

11:33 pm: Breathing life into bullies
Because, you know what?

Bullies are human, too. Or dragon, or elven, or werewolf… )

This rant is hardly going to stop authors from using stock minor villains, but I wish they would stop for the same reason I wish they would stop creating stock major villains: it denies those people any humanity. Slipping inside the skin of every character in your world makes for the best writing, I think. And if that means moving past their own teenage angst issues, so be it.

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February 13th, 2004

09:22 am: Character introduction and interaction.
I've done dialogue, I've done secondary characters, but I've read so many books lately that irritated me with the smaller things that I think these parts are still to be said.

Random Superstition/Belief: People who saw elves in the woods were once warned not to accept gifts of gold from them. Any gold they gave would turn to fallen leaves by morning.

Introduction and interaction )

Maybe more on this tomorrow. I just have to think of more things that annoy me.

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January 5th, 2004

07:47 pm: Character motivation.
There’s no way that I’ll fit everything I want to in here the first time, but oh, well.

Some lines from Swinburne on one of his heroines, from “By the Sea-Side” (published in The Whole Music of Passion on page 179).

Once lived a woman in whom all abhorred
Sins found a resting place;
But no stain ever marred her smooth white forehead,
Or changed her queenly face.
They say she lived and smiled as children do,
And many for her sake
Died, knowing all the shames that o’er her grew
Coiled round her like a snake.
The man, they say, whose chance eyes looked upon her
Gave her his soul and died –
Ay, sinned and died for her, and called it honour,
And kept her name with pride.
So those men used to love in the far days!
Such might had women then.

Characterization of protagonists, part one )

Yep, I’ll definitely do more on this tomorrow.

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