Novelists and story writers alike recognize the importance of solid characters. We’ve all read stories where the characters come off as flat, uninteresting… and usually someone says, “This story just doesn’t do it for me.” In almost every case, the problem isn’t with the story at all, but with presentation of character.
Characters with yearning, strengths and (of course) a fatal flaw, are most important to good storytelling. If a reader identifies with the character, or with (the character’s) yearning, (love, life, survival, redemption, revenge, etc.) then we’ll go almost anywhere in a story environment. Rob your readers of these important elements and you create a story that even beautifully written prose cannot bandage.
What is yearning? Let me answer that question with a question: What is it that YOU want? That’s right, yearning is no more complicated than that. Your heart’s desire, your yearning, is what drives you. Everything that is opposed (internally and externally) to that goal is conflict. That is where the story resides, and in overcoming those obstacles.
Of course, it is always more fun to read of a character that overcomes obstacles only to discover that a fatal flaw is preventing the (or at least making it more difficult) character from achieving what they want. That’s just good storytelling whether it’s mystery, romance, or literary.
In my workshop at Clark College, we’ll discuss the above in detail and more. If your yearning includes writing short stories or novels, follow the registration link above and see if my workshop becomes a little helper on your way to achieve your writing goals.