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For me it's easy. Pick your characters and start living their lives. Have little nudges of fate guide them towards key points of your story, but don't force it; if the character just doesn't realistically fit in there, change the plot point and keep developing the story. At times it will be entirely different from what you planned, but better. Essentially: ...


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Plot... Story... blah blah blah. You're talking about a journey. You're talking about a quest. You're talking about a goal, a conflict, and a resolution. What I don't like is the use of the term "filler content". You can't go into a story thinking like that. Everything you write has to be important, every sentence should define a character or the world, or ...


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Children begin reading books without conflict at all (colors and shapes), and then advance to simple external conflicts (Dr. Seuss), and eventually discover inner conflict around adolescence. Harry Potter's story grew with the character, and the audience. The earliest book provided little in the way of internal narrative at all. As the character grew, so ...


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(I thought @what gave a great answer, which I upvoted, but it also made me want to look for counterexamples.) In Remains of the Day the main character is a repressed butler who devotes his life to providing exemplary service to a family that may not deserve his loyalty. In the process, he misses a shot at love with the family's housekeeper. The conflict ...


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First, Imagine you are experiencing the same conflict as your character. Next, imagine that your mortal enemy (seriously, think of somebody you really dislike) wants to go with Option 1, which would naturally make you want to take up Option 2. The beauty of this is that you are not your character and thus do not have an opinion or a preference either way; ...


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You seem to reduce inner conflict to "characters being pulled in two opposite directions". That is, a person who wants two different things, is "conflicted". We can imagine a person wanting both to lose weight and to eat a creamy cake to be conflicted in that manner. This is of course boring and not worth a novel. We can also imagine stronger, more tortuous ...


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The less ordinary the better is what I think. Why would Joe Bloggs want to read a story about Joe Bloggs? Joe Bloggs would most probably enjoy the experience more if he/she were reading about Joe Awesomepants. Or, conversely, Joe Awfulpants. It is often the very high-achieving characters (richer than rich, powerful, slightly crazy) or the downright ...


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I feel like I am only going to be adding a footnote to some very well made points and suggestions but I feel you pain and would like to offer some constructive advice. As the author you clearly disapprove of the actions of one or more of your characters and that is probably a sign of good moral character. However if you drop out of the flow of events to ...


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Something that works for me is to consider their speech patterns. You don't want to get too extreme, but different people do express themselves in different ways, and you can use this to bring out their characters. The contrast between, say, a rather stuffy character and an outrageous one can be shown in this way. But again - the differences can be ...


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One thing that I do to help with character creation is to have a piece of paper with the character's name on, maybe even a picture (I'm not a fantastic artist so I usually skip this), then write down everything that you know about that character. It's easier to categorize things (appearance, ideals, background etc.), and then pin it up on a wall. When ...


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Some of the other answers have done a great job at addressing the topic of good characters in general, so this focuses specifically on the dialogue: In my opinion, great dialogue is all about subtext. When people talk to each other, what's going on in the words is rarely the whole conversation. Mood, hidden goals and desires, mutual history, personality, ...


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I feel that I may be simply adding a footnote but here is what I do when the cast on the page grows really quickly. I have a "bible" of background information which I tend to print off and carry about with me for when I have ideas. I add a list of characters to this. Now because I am adding a lot very quickly I cheat and use a short hand. I try to add one ...


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It should go without saying that some of these other answers have very valuable advice that is definitely worth reading. When people "debate" it is rarely calm and cool headed. It rarely stays on topic and quite often comes from the fact that the basic assumptions which each has hitherto assumed the other also held are different. This is a great time to ...


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I believe there is no "recipe" with which to cook up three-dimensional characters. However, since "good" characters - realistic, believable, full of faults, contradictions, anxieties and passions - are what I value above all in a story and what I put most effort in, here is how I develop my characters: Start with an idea. What kind of story do you want to ...


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In my experience (in real life), some of the most bitter arguments are between people who whose positions are, objectively speaking, quite close. In this case, you've already outlined a key difference between these characters --whether cooperation with the military is acceptable. I can't foresee any trouble in drawing these two into a huge fight --just make ...


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Let's call them Monty the Moderate and Larry the Left-Winger for the sake of discussion... I think both your charaters are less left-wing and anti-war than you think they are. If Monty is willing to train soldiers to be better assassins, that's not being anti war. That's being practical, or perhaps utilitarian: This war is ongoing; let's minimize the ...



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