Category: character development

Are you worthy of the trust of your readers?

Are you worthy of the trust of your readers?

Right now the number of books available is immense.

Through libraries and bookstores, both physical and online, every reader can access almost every book that has ever been written.

So, today more than ever, the reader by starting to read our novel takes an act of trust.

And as writers we have to ask ourselves a question: am I worthy of the trust of my readers?

The principle of suspension of disbelief

To try to answer this fundamental question, let’s introduce the principle of suspension of disbelief.

The principle was introduced by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the fourteenth chapter of his Biographia Literaria, published in 1817.

Are you worthy of the trust of your readers? To try to answer this fundamental question, let's introduce the principle of suspension of disbelief.
Peter Vandyke – http://www.zeno.org/Literatur/I/coleridg.jpg, held at the National Portrait Gallery

The principle of suspension of disbelief is a tacit agreement between the reader and the writer in which the reader agrees to suspend his own critical sense and trust the writer’s words while being perfectly aware that it’s fiction.

The principle of suspension of disbelief allows the reader to enjoy the story.

During the reading, the reader doesn’t ask himself questions and, as soon as he closes the book or he turns off his e-reader, the magic stops and the reader returns to reality.

A question of trust

As Coleridge wrote, starting to read a novel, the reader trusts the writer.

And the writer shall act to deserve that trust, otherwise, the reader will stop the reading of the story.

So, how will the writer prove himself worthy of the trust of his readers?

It’s quite simple: the writer must tell a believable story.

And since every story starts from the conflict of characters, a believable story must start from believable characters.

Believable characters

Characters that are completely good or completely evil are stereotypes and therefore are not believable.

Characters are believable when you can understand the complexity of their human nature: qualities, defects, contradictions.

So, how can we create believable characters?

The only way is to know everything about them.

Physical aspect, behavior, psychology, sociology, ideas, passions, their life before the beginning of the novel.

It doesn’t matter if in our novel will be shown even one day of the life of our characters: the way they will live that day, every single gesture, will be the result of their way of being and experiences lived until the day before.

Interview your characters!

bibisco is a novel writing software that can really help you to know your characters.

In order to do this, bibisco proposes a funny and unusual method to know them: an interview!

bibisco proposes a funny and unusual method to know your characters: an interview!
bibisco character’s interview

Every aspect to know about a character has a dedicated card and for each aspect a series of questions.

In bibisco every aspect to know about a character has a dedicated card and for each aspect a series of questions.
bibisco character’s dashboard

The characters’ interview is one of the bibisco features that writers appreciate the most.

They say that question after question the characters take shape and become real.

It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.

William Faulkner

Conclusion

By starting to read our novel, readers decide they trust us.

To be worthy of this trust we have to create a believable story based upon believable characters.

The only way to create believable characters is by knowing everything about them. Using bibisco characters’ interviews we can do it in an effective and funny way.

No conflict? No novel!

No conflict? No novel!

There is no novel without the conflict of the characters.

This is the greatest lesson I learned from the fundamental The Art of Dramatic Writing of Lajos Egri.

And I finally understood why my stories didn’t work: my characters didn’t have a clear conflict that pushed them to action!

But, what is exactly a conflict?

A conflict is a desire to be realized

Let’s take an example.

The main character of our novel is a boy who dreams of being an actor.

But the boy belongs to a very rich family that owns an important company. And, of course, he has already been designated by his father as his successor at the helm of the company.

The boy’s father is a very strong person and hates when things do not go as he has established.

In this case, the conflict is clear: will the boy succeed in realizing his dream against his father’s will?

A conflict is a reaction to an external situation

Let’s take another example.

This time the main character of our novel is a girl who founded an innovative startup for recycling waste.

The girl lives in Paris and after many years of loneliness, she finally fell in love with a kind boy who owned a small bookshop in the city center.

One day her startup is noticed by a venture capital fund that is willing to finance the project as long as the girl moves to the Silicon Valley.

The conflict is: what will the girl do? Will she choose the startup or the kind boy?

A conflict is an inner need!

In this case, the main character of our story is a very shy boy who wants to have new friends.

His neighbor, an elderly singer, organizes a singing course for high school students and offers him to join: it will an excellent opportunity to meet new people.

The conflict is: will the boy win the fear of singing in public?

There is no novel without conflict

As we could see in these examples, the conflict of the characters is fundamental, because it is the driving force of the novel.

What if the rich family boy had been happy to take control of the family business or the girl had not received the offer from the venture capital fund or the shy boy had had so many friends? Simple: we would not have a story.

Or at least we would not have an interesting story to tell.

Therefore, the greater the stake for the character, the more interesting our story is.

The nature of a novel

So conflict is fundamental because it leads a character to action and to change the condition of things.

A novel is the story of a change in the condition of things and of the evolution of characters during this process.

Character development

bibisco is a novel writing software focused on character development, precisely because it is designed starting from this principle: there is no novel without the conflict of the characters.

For this reason, in bibisco, for each main character, there are two specific cards to develop the conflict of the characters and their evolution throughout the story.

No conflict? No novel!

Conclusion

The conflict of the characters is fundamental because it is the driving force of the novel. Without conflict, we would not have a story.

Use bibisco for the development of your characters and to identify their conflict.

This is the first step to write your great novel.

P.S.: Need some more advice to write your novel? Check out this great guide by Jerry Jenkins!