I spent the entire Halloween weekend working more details into my outline. When I got done, I realized some serious shortcomings.
Part Two really is awesome. It has the perfect story elements for a good plot. And the plot escalates just like it’s supposed to. A good plot was something that Part One was very weak at.
I think I did a great job on Terk’s character in Part Two. He really takes the spotlight. And that, therein, lies part of the problem. Jori and J.T. are too wishy-washy. I can’t have that. Jori is the whole reason I am writing The Kavakian Empire to begin with. And J.T. is a major part of Jori’s story.
So on Halloween day, I brainstormed for ways to improve their characters. This is what I realized I needed to fix:
One reason Terk came out to be such a fantastic character is because he creates conflict. Jori and Terk were too wishy-washy because they just went along with everything. So, I tried to think of ways to increase their conflict
One way to increase conflict is to get inside the character’s head more. The Emotion Thesaurus is helping me with this. By doing a better job at writing internal thoughts and emotions, I hope to shed some light on what my wishy-washy characters are thinking. And what they’re thinking can be a conflict because it might not be what the person observing them thinks they are thinking.
Take Jori, for example. He is very good at masking his emotions. So when I had him talking to his father, it looked to the reader like he was just going along with his father without much resentment. But by adding more internal thoughts, I hope to give the reader a better insight on how Jori feels about the man.
Use a Character’s Strengths Against Them
Another way to increase conflict is to understand that a character’s strength can also be his weakness. For example, my character Jori tends to care a great deal about certain people. I think most of us can agree that caring about people is a positive strength. But it’s not such a great trait to have when you’re part of a brutal warrior race, especially when a person you care about is supposed to be your enemy.
Conflicts with Friends
Conflicts with the enemy are a given. So writing Jori’s conflict with his father was easy. But what if he has a conflict with his brother, someone he cares deeply about? Writing J.T.’s conflict with the emperor was easy, too. But what if he has a conflict with one of his own men, like Harley?
The above are the types of conflict I used, but there are a number of other ways conflict can be used to help make a character more interesting. Conflict can be internal, such as when dealing with addiction or by having to make a difficult choice. Conflict can also be external. External conflicts don’t have to be just with people or society either. Someone could have conflict with an object, such as one a racecar driver might have with their car. Or it can be with the environment, such as needing to cross a mountain pass in winter.
Once I decided on what I needed to make my characters more interesting, I brainstormed some ideas on how to implement them into the story. I came up with several great ideas and grasped onto two situations that I felt would really spice up the story.
Coming up with more content meant editing and adding to my current outline. I added several chapters or subchapters and 4,890 words to my outline and I made revisions to a few of the chapters that I’ve already written. If you’d like to see the revised version of those chapters, please email me at naturebydawn at aol dot com.
By the way, I’ve been participating in NaNo, aka the National Novel writing month, at www.nanowrimo.org. Hopefully, this will keep me motivated so that I can finish Part Two in no time. You can find me on NaNo by searching dawnross.