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"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination."- Don Williams Jr.
Here are some of the major roads your character might encounter on his journey.
Every major city has a road that acts as its center attraction. The road helps to define the city. Your character's Main Street is his center. Instead of restaurants and shops, it is his world view of who he is. It is his core. Find his Main Street and you will also discover his motivation, a key factor in developing a character's story.
The Winding Road
If a character never travels a winding road, but just a freeway everyday, he will miss the enjoyment of wondering what's on the other side of the hill or around the curve. It's that winding road that will bring changes in the character's life, good and bad.
Nightmares on Elm Street
On your character's journey , he will cross Elm street-where the nightmares are. They may be real, imagined, or physical. This is where your character is chased up a tree and rocks are being thrown at him. He will not be able to appreciate the other good roads if he hasn't crossed this difficult street. Going through tough times will not last for the entire book and the nightmare on Elm Street will end.
Avoid letting your characters take Easy Street. If they have a smooth ride and don't have to endure the bumps from potholes in the road, roads with no curves, and no hills to climb, they will have no challenges. Without risks, challenges, and hardships, there is no character growth and the writer finds his character driving down a dead end street. Your character needs to be willing to do things that expand his comfort zone and challenge himself. The reader expects nothing less.
Getting On the Super Highway
If your character is in the middle of fast traffic and a crisis, he has to be focused, disciplined, and alert. If he's not, he gets sent back to Elm Street or lands in a massive pile up or both.
Three things that you can do that will have an impact on your character are:
Change His Thoughts- This is the point where your character decides to change some aspect of his life, be it personal or professional.
Change His Actions- This is where his thoughts and actions come together.With his thoughts and actions aligned, he faces the future with a new view.
Change His Direction-If your characters are flat and boring, it could be they are driving in the wrong direction and need to take a U-turn. Take a look at their map and help them out.
What do you do to create better characters for your story?