Character Development « Official Author Website of Melissa McPhail

Archive for the ‘Character Development’ Category

4 Steps to Writing Organically, Part II – Viewpoints, Mimicry and Imagination

Think of writing like sailing a massive ship. There are an enormous number of mechanical actions that synergistically combine to keep the ship plowing forward through the waves. It behooves you, as the captain of the vessel, to have an understanding of all of those mechanical workings. Yet if a ship’s captain spent all of. . . Read More


Pantser or Plotter: 4 Steps to Writing Organically (and the Science Behind Why You Should) – Part 1

After my last blog post on the four things you must know before starting a novel, in which I suggested not inventing a character, kingdom or creature until the story calls for it, a number of readers wrote in to ask, should nothing be planned? My answer is absolutely plan the four points on the list I gave. . . Read More


4 Steps to the Ultimate Compelling Villain

I want to talk about villains. Not the blackened-to-the-core, maniacally twisted kind or the ultimate evil, soul-devouring kind—I’d say genre fiction is all too familiar with stereotypical antagonists of this ilk. No, I want to talk about the villains you love to hate. Once upon a time in fiction (say, twenty years ago), good and. . . Read More


The Use of Emotion in Storytelling

  I was recently in dialogue with a reader about the use of homoeroticism in my novels. She asked if I had intentionally created a correlation between two homosexual characters (Sandrine du Préc in Cephrael’s Hand and the Prophet Bethamin in Dagger of Adendigaeth) and unethical conduct. In short, I had not. However, I found. . . Read More


An Amuse-bouche for Fans of A Pattern of Shadow and Light

As some of you may know, I’ve been traveling in Europe this month gathering a plethora of research for book three. Much of the third installment of A Pattern of Shadow & Light is set in the Empire of Agasan – specifically in the Sacred City of Faroqhar – which in turn is based on. . . Read More


Overcoming Writer’s Block – 5 Unconventional Ideas

As writers, we innately tend to know when our story is working and when it isn’t. I like to describe this awareness as a sort of resonance, but it could just as easily be compared to an engine with all pistons firing. A skilled mechanic can tell just by listening when an engine isn’t purring. . . Read More


Building A Fantasy World – The Magic of Genre Fiction

  Many thanks to The Cover by Brittany for originally hosting this post on her blog.    Some fantasy authors cringe at the topic of world-building, but actually, it’s one of the most thrilling aspects of writing genre fiction. When we write fantasy, we become the Maker of Worlds. We establish our world’s limitations, its physical barriers,. . . Read More


The Mysterious Character Syndrome: When a fringe character rears his head and demands mainstream attention

I’m still on this subject of character development. It’s a hot topic among fiction writers—or at least among bloggers, who seem to think it’s a hot topic among fiction writers. In any event, all of the recent posts flying about the blogosphere on the subject have certainly garnered my interest and attention. So I’ve hooked. . . Read More


What’s in a Name? Naming Characters in Fantasy Worlds

“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  So says Juliet in her soliloquy about Romeo. As Shakespeare points out, names are a combination of symbols, associated with sounds, which are assigned to represent a person or thing in our minds. Often times in life, the superficiality of a name. . . Read More


The Lie

I was reading an article recently by Sherrinda Ketchersid on The Writers Alley Blog, where she introduces the concept of The Lie. Sherrinda wrote: “Character development hinges on The Lie. You see, your hero needs to overcome something in his life. There needs to be some lie he believes that taints every part of his belief system, every action, and. . . Read More