Birth of IDEA. Concept background.Most—if not all—of us have “ah ha” moments in life, moments when we learn something new about ourselves.

But do our characters?

These moments need to be part of not only the hero’s journey but also the other main characters’ in our works of fiction as.

Let’s use that as our springboard this week.

  1. Introduce your main character to a sibling he didn’t know existed. What does your character learn about himself in the process?
  2. When a grouchy old woman responds kindly to a homeless man, she goes on a journey of self-discovery to find out why. What does she learn about herself?
  3. The child in your story is afraid of bright lights. He asks his older sister about it and she tells him a story about a time he was a toddler. What does she say?
  4. A recently released convict comes across her grandmother’s diary. The young woman had no idea about her family’s past. What does she learn about them—and herself?
  5. Tormented since he began Kindergarten, a high school sophomore moves to a new town and has a fresh start. What does he learn about himself on the first day of class?

And for you fantasy writers . . .

  1. Your human antagonist awakens to find herself surrounded by aliens. Her only hope of figuring out what is going on . . . the man she came to kill.

Take your time and think through each situation. It’s easy to fall into cliché responses. Instead, be careful to make each discovery believable. Set the scene carefully, thoughtfully. Your characters have to have a legitimate reason why they say and do things, especially those that seem out of character.

by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist

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