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More help while writing your novel

By From page A2 | July 24, 2013

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.

– – –

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.

– – –

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.”

– – –

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]

C.W. Plunkett

C.W. Plunkett


Discussion | 17 comments

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  • California Business CenterJuly 24, 2013 - 7:07 am

    Writers might join writer groups. There's a great one right in our office building. They enjoy free conference rooms. Share ideas. Get inspiration. Learn from like minded writers.

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  • C.W. PlunkettJuly 24, 2013 - 7:23 am

    What is the address of your building, random poster? :)

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  • Random Diet and Fitness ExpertJuly 24, 2013 - 7:58 am

    I am writing a simple, condensed book about my diet plan that really works!....The plan consists of this....For B-fast, have one or two servings (bottles) of alcoholic beverage, one large serving of something PICKLED, one serving of something with Fiber, and 5 Prunes....For example this Morning...I had 2 Bottles of Killian's Red, 1 Medium size Jar of Pickled Herring in White Wine Vinegar, a 1/4 cup of KRETSCHMER Original Toasted Wheat Germ and 5 Prunes......OK.... So you get pleasantly soused, and then wait for the ensuing Day long Belly Ache (makes you not want to eat anything for 24 Hours), while meanwhile, the fiber and prunes are keeping you "cleaned out"....It really works, this diet does...Give it a try, you will be happy you dieted, I mean did!.....After all you are your PROTAGANIST and your own ANTAGONIST. It is you against your own fat!....This is the view point I will be employing for my Book.....Oh Plunkett!...You are such an inspiration to us all!

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  • CinderellaJuly 24, 2013 - 3:25 pm

    AWESOME diet book. I would like an autographed copy, please.

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  • C.W. PlunkettJuly 24, 2013 - 3:29 pm

    Love the diet! I've already finished step #1 (2 alcoholic beverages {Coors Lights}, but I think I did something wrong so I'm going to start over with step #1 again... and perhaps even a third time too... I'd like an signed copy of your book too!

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  • Conflict of Adam and Eve with SatanJuly 25, 2013 - 11:51 pm

    Some very interesting, but Dangerous reading is...Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan (Wikipedia this) as found in the Book..The Forgotten Books of Eden, by Rutherford H. Platt, Jr.......Dangerous as of course, these are not actually Biblical....But extremely moving as just literature in that it tells a story of what happened to Adam and Eve after they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden...(reading it has caused me problems in that I find myself thinking in context of portions of it being relevant to the real Bible, it really makes an impression). Just think how you would feel, you were innocent, pure, untainted, in Communion with God, in a perfect environment, guilt free, worry free, in pristine beautiful surroundings, your every need provided for with little effort....Then the Fall....Adam and Eve are of course devastated, afraid, hungry, dirty and naked, depressed beyond comprehension and they repeatedly try to Kill themselves, but God will not let them and revives them. Meanwhile the Devil is tormenting them, trying to bring about their destruction.....Really the way the couple's despair is described is very moving.

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  • Amazing Grace -- HarmonicaJuly 27, 2013 - 9:24 am


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  • Chiquita Khrushchev (Chairman of the Society of Concerned Russian Orthodox Test Monkeys)July 27, 2013 - 9:36 am


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  • Granny...I'm writin a Book! on little known REDNECK Inventions!July 27, 2013 - 9:12 pm


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  • Granny's Book Nook Selection...July 27, 2013 - 9:41 pm

    Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir [Paperback] by Joe Bageant

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  • Explaination....July 30, 2013 - 1:18 pm

    OIUHNBTD = Only if you have nothing better to do.......I am deciding to be mad at you again Michael so you are included....Plunkett please skip this one my idol your time is much too valuable to waste on this.

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  • OIUHNBTD = Gary, rlw and MichaelJuly 30, 2013 - 1:43 pm


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  • FYI....Gary...Who drinks Rum?July 30, 2013 - 2:04 pm


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  • NFSD...Woody Harrelson on David LettermanJuly 30, 2013 - 8:13 am


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  • This Mentoring is Very Taxing StuffJuly 30, 2013 - 8:17 am


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  • Wikipedia Charles HarrelsonJuly 30, 2013 - 8:44 am

    Joseph Chagra later testified during Harrelson's trial that Harrelson claimed to have shot Kennedy and drew maps to show where he was hiding during the assassination. Chagra said that he did not believe Harrelson's claim, and the AP reported that the FBI "apparently discounted any involvement by Harrelson in the Kennedy assassination." According to Jim Marrs in 1989's Crossfire, Harrelson is believed to be the youngest and tallest of the "three tramps" by many assassination researchers. Marrs stated that Harrelson was involved "with criminals connected to intelligence agencies and the military" and suggested that he was connected to Jack Ruby through Russell Douglas Matthews, a third party with links to organized crime who was known to both Harrelson and Ruby....See spooks ( like G. Bush) and hired Mafia w/FBI and CIA ties were all around the Kennedy assassination....but it seems that Mobster James Files fired the fatal shot from the Grassy knoll (on behalf of Johnson, Hoover, the CIA, Dulles and globalist bankers)

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  • Hmmm..The Magic Theatre..Steppenwolf novel by Herman HesseJuly 30, 2013 - 9:02 am

    From Amazon reviews..In truth, Hesse's intention was to paint the picture of Steppenwolf's (or Harry Haller's) state of mind. To portray this personality, Hesse resorted to Jungian psychology, particularly the principals of `ego', `animus/anima' and `self'. Harry Haller is his `ego'. Hermine is his `anima' (animus in women). Pablo and Maria are his `self'. Harry Haller (whose initials H.H. are the same as Hermann Hesse's), however, is unable to integrate the opposite and multiple pieces in his psychological make up. Unity of the personality is attainable by emulating the immortals' (Mozart, Goethe, Nietzsche, Novalis) sense of humour or adaptability whenever confronted with rigid conformity and resistance to change.....Poster's note...I have not read this one,,,will have to put it on my reading list. .

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