How to Dissect Your Characters for Stunning Stories: The Struggle is Real

How you doing, Write Lifers!?!

For our third installment on characterization, I want you to think about the greatest struggle your character faces in the story you are writing.

This is the climax—the beginning of the end. This is the struggle that makes your story worth everything!

Much of what has led to this moment is reflective in what you have already discovered about your character: their interests, their past, and how others view them. They all contribute to the final conflict and the ultimate climax of your story.

What does your character want? This should be at the forefront of their greatest struggle. Otherwise, there isn’t much reason for them to struggle at all. And if they don’t struggle, they don’t grow and we, as readers, don’t get the feeling of admiration for them when they “slay their dragons.”

Once you have defined the struggle, you should be able to figure out how your character will react. Will they overcome or will they fail? Failure isn’t bad. The reader typically wants to see the character win, because your character should be interesting and loved (probably a post that should be written later). But that isn’t always the case. Maybe your character isn’t ready to receive what they want. Maybe there is another struggle to come, especially if you are creating a series.

Failure is fine, just as it is in life. You just need to create a believable reaction on their part, which comes from how well you know them, and hopefully, your character can provide a glimmer of hope by getting back up when they fall.

In both cases, whether they win or lose, you should be able to map out the process of how they get there. That is the story! The reader wants to take that journey with the character and follow what happens! 

Mapping out the path becomes easy once you understand your character and their motivations and by understanding their greatest struggle you can map out how they grow.

I know some of that may have been cringe, but that’s how I feel about writing and characterization. I want my heroes to succeed, but I also want them to never give up.

I hope this was helpful. Please like and subscribe so you will be notified on the final post in this series, and also, comment your ideas on characterization and tips you have in learning who your characters are. I really appreciate the tips from fellow writers and I hope that this post helped you germinate some ideas for your story.


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