In this video, I have tried to capture my process of writing a short story. If you are a new writer or are curious about how writing is done, then I am sure you’ll enjoy this video. I you are a veteran writer then I am sure you will be able to relate to it a lot. In any case, I hope you enjoy watching it.
I was contacted by one of my writing buddies for contributing in an anthology, so this story is for that. I have already submitted this story (on 28th December’20) and will update here once it will get published.
For this particular anthology, I had to write on a particular theme, therefore in order to brainstorm the concept for my story I have used Prompt Writing. If you don’t know what it is then read this: Prompt-Writing.
In this video, you’ll get a glimpse into how prompt writing is helpful in coming up with story ideas. Following are the days on which I shot this video and the corresponding time in the video for each writing session:
Characterisation is one of the most important elements of any story, long or short. If you don’t get the characterisation right, chances are that your story will fall flat on its face and no writer wants that to happen! So the best way to make sure that your story stays with the reader long before they’ve turned the last page is to nail the characterisation.
And for that I am here to share the 7 types of characters that can be created in fiction writing. There are the 7 types of character that you can, after reading this post, easily identify in the books you’ll read – even in the fantasy books with complex characterisation.
This post is a followup to the 2 hour Webinar I conducted on my YouTube channel. You can watch it here:
So let’s have a look at these 7 types of characters.
7 Types Of Characters In Fiction
1. Dynamic Characters
Dynamic Characters are the characters who go through a significant transformation in the story. As a result, they end up being different at the end of the story than how they began at the start of the story. The change or transformation they undergo can be for the better or worse.
Examples of Dynamic Characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Nevile Longbottom in Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Theon Greyjoy, Sansa Stark, Jamie Lannister and Samwell Tarly in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Bilbo and Frodo in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein
2. Static Characters
Static Characters are the characters who do not go through any significant transformation in the story. They remain more or less the same way at the end of the story as they were at the beginning. These are generally strong-headed characters.
Examples of Static Characters: Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Professor Dumbeldor and Hagrid in Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Danerys Targaryan and Cercie Lannister-Baratheon in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.
3. Round Characters
Round Characters are characters that are multi-layered, well-developed, possess multiple intricate personality traits and are insanely interesting. They have complex personalities and are mostly reader’s favourites. They help in driving a major chunk of the story forward and often are a part of sub-plots (if they are not the protagonist fo the story.)
Examples of Round Characters: Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Professor Dumbeldor and Hagrid in Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Theon Greyjoy, Sansa Stark, Jamie Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Danerys Targaryan and Cercie Lannister-Baratheon in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Bilbo, Frodo and Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.
4. Flat Characters
Flat Characters are characters that are single-layered possessing 2-5 basic personality traits and are not at all interesting. They appear only in limited scenes in the story and play only a very specific role beyond which their character is not explored further. Most of the times they are unimportant and uninteresting to read, but they do play a key role in a few scenes in the entire story.
Examples of Flat Characters: Crab and Goyle in Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Most characters from Meereen, Yunkai and Astapor and even the Sand Snakes in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Merry and Pippin in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.
5. Stock Characters
Stock Characters represent a ‘type of people or personality’ rather than an individual. They portray a specific stereotype based on social prejudices and/or cliches. They are opposite of Symbolic Characters and are usually used to depict the negative traits.
Examples of Stock Characters: Mean stepmother, abusive husband, estranged father, con artist, billionaire bachelor, gentle giant, tough guy, nerd girl, hopeless romantic and so on. Professor McGonagall and Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Jorah Mormont, Davos Seaworth, Melisandre the Red Priestess, Olenna Tyrell in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Gollum, Saruman and Sauron in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.
6. Symbolic Characters
Symbolic Characters represent a theme or concept larger than them. They always have dynamic personality and qualities and stand for a class of certain type of symbolic traits rather than an individual. They are the exact opposite of Stock Characters and depict positive traits and greatness in a broader sense of the word.
Examples of Symbolic Characters: Professor Dumbeldor in Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Eddard Stark, Tommen and Robert Baratheon in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin and in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.
7. Foil Characters
Foil Characters are the characters that are used as a foil to highlight the qualities of the main characters. They are generally polar opposites of the main characters and authors use them to bring out the qualities of their main characters indirectly.
Examples of Foil Characters: Draco Malfoy is a foil to Harry Potter’s character in Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Sansa Stark is a foil to Arya Stark and Jamie Lannister is a foil to Brienne Of Tarth in A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Gollum is a foil to Bilbo and Frodo’s character in Lord Of The Rings series by J. R.R. Tolkein.
So these are the 7 types of characters in fiction. Did you know about them already or was it the first time you heard about some of these? I’d love to hear about what kind of characters you personally prefer while reading fiction books or writing your own stories.
Here are some other great resources on types of characters and characterisation in general:
The first place you need to begin, especially while starting a long-form fiction project (or re-starting it), is to discover yourself as a writer – to find out what kind of a writer you are. Because unless you do it, you won’t know how to proceed further, especially once the initial flame of anticipation and excitement burns off.
Typically, there are two types of writers:
Intuitivewriter (also known as Discovery writer)
Plotter (also known as an Outliner)
Now, these are basically the two extreme ends of the spectrum. So consider the figure below:
You will find yourself somewhere in between these two ends, depending upon your unconscious inclinations.
Intuitive or Discovery writers write based on their intuitions. The ideas come to them unbridled and then the details follow, their unconscious as well as subconscious mind working on the idea day and night without them even being actively aware for most of the process. Majority of the story as well as the elements in it, comes intuitively to them. Think of a big cauldron (the mind) on the flames of your unconscious and subconscious mind cooking the soup (the story) month after month, simmering it as it bubbles there, and gets nice and thick, as you (consciously) stir it sometimes and adding bits of veggies and pieces of meat into it. It keeps on cooking and bubbling and improving its consistency, while the writer himself goes on about living their life knowing something is brewing in their mind and that ‘something’ is going to be good!
What their job is to give it enough time and keep on putting as many stirs and veggies and chunks of meat in it as they can, by consciously working not their stories and when it all gets too unbearable – when you feel the urge to jump out of the bed in the middle of the night and stat losing your precious sleep night after night, to grab your laptop or pen and paper and write it all down, then you do it.
This is how the mind of an intuitive writer works.
The downside is, their mind it always hyper -aware of their story and they find it hard to separate the real world and their story-world as it reaches its crescendo. It tends to drive a person mad – imagine all your characters talking in your head and wanting to be written!
Generally, people who are on the emotionally sensitive side, and are more receptive to energies, tend to be intuitive writers. Simply put, they are easily possessed but heir ideas and stories.
This intuitive approach is the same for all kinds of artists – painters, singers, lyricists, etc.
Outliners or plotters on the other hand, are the writers who have to outline their ideas, plot their characters and then work from the inside out. This may turn out to be an absurdly complex process, but it won’t feel like that to an outliner. The advantage is that, it is a very meticulous way of writing. And discipline prevails over creativity, so in this case you have to make sure it doesn’t kill the creativity all together because it possess the ability, and may tend to, suck the joy out of writing by making it feel too mechanical at times.
If you are an outliner, then it should be obvious to you why you get stuck in your writings – because your mind needs an outline or a plan to go ahead. That is simply how your mind works, so no need denying it. Brace it and do what is needed. Learn to plot ahead, learn writing by chalking out a plan for what to write next.
Eventually, when you have worked on your projects enough, you will start to feel a deeper connection with your writing intuition and then will you’ll automatically start writing based on intuition than an outline. But it takes time.
This is why you need to know what kind of a writer you are. You need to understand how your mind works in order to be able to work with it in harmony.
I have more insight to share about intuitive writers than outliners because I happen to be one. I am a highly intuitive person and as a result, I am an extremely intuitive writer. My stories keep me up at night, making me spend a lot of my sleeping time tapping away at my laptop while my cats stare at me like something is wrong with me. When I write, I enter a trance which can only be felt and not explained. All I can tell is, when I start writing, everything else fades to nothing and I forget time and space and enter a world that is not the one we are in. It is my story’s world, I am not me, I am my characters and that is how I do it and I wouldn’t prefer it any other way. Although it is emotionally taxing, it is irrevocably rewarding.
As an intuitive writer, I very rarely face the blank-page-syndrome, though on the downside, I cannot force myself to write when I don’t feel like it. So I had to learn to navigate these slippery slopes in order to build a consistent writing habit.
It is difficult, but achievable with time, patience and disciple.
Character Profile Sheets are a great literary tool that help you in profiling your characters, especially the main characters of your story. They not only help you in being consistent with your character’s traits throughout your story or manuscript but also help a great deal in creating as well as painting the character arc you desire for your story.
Generally, a Character Profile Sheets consists of the main physical, mental, emotional and social traits of your character’s life and personality along with their general likes and dislikes, their taste in music, their occupation, and stuff like what they like to eat, what they don’t their allergies and different kind of health issues, etc, etc, etc. Basically, your Character Profile Sheet consists of everything about your character.
Character Profile Sheets can be as long or as short as your want them to be, but my advice would be to keep them detailed because detailed Character Profile Sheets lead to good characters and good characters leads to good characterisation.
Another great thing about Character Profile Sheets is that it greatly helps if you get stuck in a writing slump. Working your characters is a great way to jump start your brain to getting into the right mindset to start writing again.
Check out my video on Character Profile Sheets on YouTube or listen to its podcast on iTunes.
When it comes to Character Profile Sheets there are three things that you need to remember:
If you are a punster then start with a basic Character Profile Sheet to begin with and add details as you go further because starting with a detailed Character Profile Sheet can be very overwhelming. But if you are a plotter then you can straight away start with a detailed Character Profile Sheet.
No matter how long or short your character profile sheet is or how detailed or summarised it is always make room for character’s background in it because character background is very, very, very important an you need to be consistent with it throughout your story. Take it from someone who has written a book with a lot of characters, always make a room for character background in your Character Profile Sheet.
Your Character Profile Sheet will evolve as you make progress with your manuscript so always keep on revising your Character Profile Sheet along with each and every single draft of your story. Otherwise, there’ll be either no point of maintaining a Character Profile Sheet or it’ll get too confusing for you and ruin your manuscript.
So that’s Character Profile Sheets for you. If you want a ready reference with links to some really good Character Profile Sheets then read this article – Character Profile Sheets(the links are the end of the article.)
If you have any questions or doubts or want to discuss Character Profile Sheets with me then leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
There are a lot of people who don’t believe in the existence of Writer’s Block, but let’s face it, even though you don’t want to name it, there are periods of time in every writer’s life when you simply can’t write (no matter how much you want to!) You can call it a “bad phase”, a stupor or whatever the hell you want it all comes down to the same thing – You can’t write sometimes.
No matter what you want to name it, the truth remains the same – This “bad time” or whatever you want to name it wastes a lot of precious time of writers that can be otherwise used for writing.
This is what is called Writer’s Block. Think of it as just something to name this condition for the sake of convenience.
It’s not all bad if you can recover from it in a short while, say a day or a couple of days or even a week. But it gets pretty bad if you simply can’t get over it for a long period of time, say a month. Or maybe more.
I’ve come across a lot of stories of writers giving up when they suffer a prolonged period of Writer’s Block and it greatly saddens me because this is not a solution. Giving up never is.
In 3 years of my full-time writing career, I’ve gone through multiple phases of Writer’s Block, both short and long spells. And if there’s something I’ve learned from each and every time, it is these 3 things:
1. Make use of this time
Many of us use our extra time for writing. We get a day off, we write. We get an hour off, we write. We go on a vacation, we write. Being a full-time writer also, I use my extra time for writing, so I practically don’t get any free time for other things.
Use this “bad spell” to do the other things like weed the garden, take a small vacation with your family, do the house chores, spend time with your family and friends (god only knows how limited time writers get to spend with others), go for swimming, movies, or do anything else that either needs to be done, or you’ve wanted to do but couldn’t because of writing.
2. Keep feeding your creative mind
Just because you can’t write doesn’t mean you can’t read, or draw or do research or can’t do anything else that’ll work as a fodder for your creative mind.
Remember, our minds are like a sponge, they keep on absorbing and observing things. So when you’re not writing, either read books in your genre or read some refreshing new genre, or sing or dance or do something that you like. But again, don’t do anything that stresses you. You’re just doing these things for yourself, not to please others.
I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books, both in my genre of writing. It always helps me.
3. Don’t give up
It’s okay to take a break. In fact, the way I see it, Writer’s Block is a way for our mind to tell us to take a break. If you’ll notice it generally happens after you’ve spent a considerable time working on your writing projects.
So listen to your mind and give it a rest.
You’ll always bounce back eventually.
Don’t over think. Relax and take a calming breath. Your mind simply needs a break, it is NOT giving up on writing. So do what you want to do, keep in touch with your creative side and don’t ever think of giving up.
In case if the Writer Block doesn’t go away after a while, then face the truth – It’s not the Writer’s Block, it’s you. You (maybe your subconscious self) are making reasons and coming up with stupid excuses to not to write. So get on your ass and start writing. It’ll be hard, but who said writing will be easy?