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Posts Tagged ‘StoryBook’

As I was test driving the Storybook software I downloaded a while back, trying to decide if it will be as good a writing tool as Scrivener, I suddenly discovered that I have no idea what the difference is between a major and a minor character. They’ve all just been characters, with the exception of the protagonist and antagonist of course. Yet I was being asked by this novel-writing software to decide who were major characters and who were minor characters in my book, Apprentice Cat. A little research later and I had my answer.

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As I was test driving the Storybook software I downloaded a while back, trying to decide if it will be as good a writing tool as Scrivener, I suddenly discovered that I have no idea what the difference is between a major and a minor character. They’ve all just been characters, with the exception of the protagonist and antagonist of course. Yet I was being asked by this novel-writing software to decide who were major characters and who were minor characters in my book, Apprentice Cat. A little research later and I had my answer.

Minor characters are usually flat, two-dimensional characters. They are the ones who show up in a scene or two to help move the plot along, but don’t need a complicated back story. However, just because a character has a minor role over-all that does not mean the character can’t be memorable. Darcy Pattison suggests four great ways to help create memorable minor characters without having to round the character out.

  1. An ailment such as a cold
  2. An unusual role
  3. An unusual job
  4. Distinctive facial features

Major characters are well-rounded. They are the protagonist, antagonist and any other character that needs an in-depth back story in order to fulfill their role in the plot. Of course, rounding out a major character means giving your reader some back story and that can be tricky. Ronni Loren has some tips on how to “dish out back story in digestible bites” like using

  1. dialogue
  2. minimal flashbacks or memories
  3. character thoughts
  4. action in the story

Knowing how to create memorable minor characters while slowly rounding out major characters can be hard work, but it’s a task worth tackling for a great story on The Road to Writing.

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I’ve been diligently working on my book, Apprentice Cat, as anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile knows. Some chapters seem to write themselves, others have to be dragged into existence. Unfortunately, the longer the story is, the more likely the middle will develop premature aging. In other words, it sags, gets bogged down, or generally becomes a bore.

And so it has happened. My little world has suddenly become afflicted with a nasty case of the “beer belly blues.” The middle has become cumbersome and unruly and, to be quite honest, I can’t see the ending like could before I began. What to do?

I’ve been doing some research (imagine that! :)) and have come up with a possible solution. I’m going to try using (gasp!) novel-writing software. Now, before, I’ve always sneered at the concept of using software that supposedly “assists you in structuring your book.” But, let’s face it, when your book has suddenly become that unwanted relative sleeping on your couch, leaving potato chip crumbs between the cushions while channel surfing, you begin to rethink how you do things.

There are plenty of possible novel-writing software programs available. Prices vary from as low as $29 to over $200. Of course, if you’re like me, even spending $29 seems steep for software you’re not convinced will do what you want it to (get the relative off your couch and gainfully employed). So, I did some more digging and found a freeware program called StoryBook that does the same thing and has a 4 out 5 star rating with Softpedia.

Planning how a novel will progress is nothing new. Using software specifically designed to aid in that planning is new (at least to me). With each new resource I uncover, from the most recent addition to my library to the discovery of a new writing tool, I learn that there are any number of ways to pursue my dream on The Road to Writing.

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Update: Rough Drafts Aren’t The Only Things That Need Editing

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