In last week’s column about how to write a novel, we discussed different types of fiction and the element of fiction. This week we will finish it up with types of conflict, types of plot and character development.
To have a successful novel, you must create some sort of conflict.
Character vs. character: Or protagonist vs. antagonist, or hero vs. villain, or margarine vs. butter. This is easily the most popular working conflict arrangement in literature.
Character vs. technology (or machinery, science, killer robots): This is mainly used in sci-fi.
Character vs. nature: In this theme, your protagonist is pitted against nature. The most well-known example of this is Robinson Crusoe. Probably the least-known example is Gerald Napalms the Dandelions, which was a limerick I wrote in third grade.
Character vs. self: Well-known examples of this format would be “A Beautiful Mind” and “Beowulf.” A little-known example would be “Get Out of My Head,” which was an epic haiku that I wrote in kindergarten.
Character vs. supernatural: The premise here is to pit your main character against a werewolf or a vampire or even a zombie, but this premise is so very seldom used nowadays that it’s hardly worth mentioning.
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The way you convey your story can vary in style, but it is very important. This involves using different types of plots, such as:
Chronological order: This is where all the events of the story occur in the text in the exact order that they supposedly happen. It’s kind of like the way things actually happen in real life, only with less crying, but with more alcohol.
Flashbacks: This is also called an analepsis (you’re welcome). It’s used to interject a scene that takes the reader back to a time prior to the current point of the story. It’s often used to remind the reader of key narratives or events. For instance, I wrote a limerick back in third grade called, “Gerald Napalms the Dandelions.” Remember that? It’s kind of like that, only with less alcohol and a little more crying.
Style: Every writer has their own unique style (or voice). The narrative sets the entire mood and tone of your novel. This part is purely subjective, but always be true to your own style as you manipulate phrasing, diction, dialogue and fashion your sentence structure.
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This leaves us with character development. Some might say that this is the fundamental building block to writing a novel. Others may infer that it’s the most difficult aspect of writing. Most would conclude that no matter what, it’s going to involve a lot of alcohol and crying.
There are many kinds of characters that you can employ.
Point-of-view character: This is the character who represents the point of view that the readers sympathize with, the character whose perspective with which the reader experiences the story. It’s kind of like what I’m doing right now.
Protagonist: This person is the driver of the action of the story and responsible for achieving the story’s objective goal. It’s kind of like what I’m doing right now.
Static character: This is a character that does not change during the course of the story. It’s kind of like Gerald in my limerick that I wrote in third grade called “Gerald Napalms the Dandelions.”
Antagonist: This is a person (or group of people, or a thing, such as a corn dog) who opposes the main character. It’s kind of like in the multiple-versed quatrain that I wrote in nursery school that was titled “Joey the Snotty-Faced DooDoo Head.”
Dynamic character: This is a character who undergoes development during the course of the story, such as a brain transplant, breast augmentation or perhaps simply a fabulous pedicure.
Minor character: This is a bit player, or someone who simply makes a cameo appearance. “It’s kind of like what I’m doing right now.” “And also right now.”
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Well, I hope this has been of some help to all of you aspiring writers out there. Just remember to keep on writing!
Thanks very much to the 43 people who ordered my eBook on Amazon last week. Many of you were able to download it on to your Kindle for free. My novel, “It Started with an Apple,” is no longer free, but it doesn’t cost very much and is well worth the price.
If you haven’t done so, download a copy of it today. It’s much better than my other story, “Gerald Napalms the Dandelions,” only with more crying and with less alcohol.
Reach C.W. Plunkett at [email protected]