This week Kelly and JJ discuss HOW to write compelling characters. Once again, we talk way too much about Dragon Age and Life is Strange. 😂
Previous episodes on characterization
What makes a compelling character? Vulnerability.
Vulnerability differs from strengths and weaknesses in that vulnerability stems from the character's subconscious emotional needs. Vulnerability often manifests itself as a driving philosophy or world view that affects all of the characters' decisions.
Needs vs. wants = both come from vulnerability. Vulnerability drives the subconscious need of a character, whereas what the character wants is generally an external manifestation of how to assuage their vulnerability.
How to write compelling characters
Identify your character's need.
A character's need is not a tangible thing; they are more conceptual, e.g. a fear of being abandoned and the need to protect themselves from that fear vs. the need to feel secure, which can often stem from a deeper fear, like loss of control.
Reveal your character's vulnerability through action and small details
How a character behaves stems from their needs, how they react to stress or other people or events
What We're Working On
Kelly is wrapping things up before the end of the year
JJ is drafting her next book
What We're Reading
Off Menu Recommendations
Earth Kingdom Prairie Home Companion (Kelly and JJ and their friend Mike's Avatar: The Last Airbender podcast!)
What You're Asking
What trad pub debuts, what's the best marketing/publicity thing the authors can do on their own? And when's a good time to dig into it? (I'm about a year out and totally overwhelmed by conflicting info/advice) —Mike Chen
Well...this isn't helpful in any practical sense, but only do the promotion that you like doing. A year out is a bit far in advance to be worrying about these sorts of things. We've talked about promotion on the podcast before, but marketing/publicity is something you should coordinate with your marketing/publicity department. However, if you are looking something concrete to do right now, start up a newsletter and build up your subscribers. Having bookmarks or business cards is also useful. Networking is more useful at this stage of your publishing journey than active, front/reader-facing promotion.
That’s all for this week! Next week we will be on hiatus for the holidays, but we shall return with more in the Crafting Characters series! As always if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, send us an ask on Tumblr, or tweet using the hashtag #askpubcrawl!