Finding our Characters' Broken Places by Laurie Calkhoven

I’ve enjoyed everyone’s thoughts this month on our characters’ dark sides—how we find them and how we write about them. The fact is that we all have dark sides. We hope that the good is the side that mostly presents itself to the world, but we all have them.

When I’m getting to know my characters, letting them tell me who they are and what they want, I always ask them to tell me about their broken places. They can be as simple as being the shortest kid in the class (like Claudia’s character) or as complex and overwhelming as learning your father just isn’t interested in you (like Michael does in Michael at the Invasion of France). But it’s those broken places that explain the darkness in our characters and give us a path to lead them to the light.


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