Be a Sadist! How to Create a Character Profile when Writing a Book.

Be a Sadist! How to Create a Character Profile when Writing a Book.


Something that I've learnt from the classes I'm doing and the courses I've taken, and from the scripts and fiction I've written is that you have to be a sadist. 

You have to really run your characters through the mill. Throw everything at them and then when you think they've had enough, poke them with a pointy stick, preferably in the eyeball or somewhere else just as pleasant. You get the idea!

In doing this, your characters will show their true selves. The act of dropping your characters in situations they don't like will keep the story flowing because there will always be something to overcome. A puzzle to solve or a tricky place to get out of - be it real or figurative. Once your characters feel relaxed, there's no story.

Of course it doesn't always have to be seat of the pants stuff, unless you're writing a thriller or a horror—but even then there needs to be some let up. It can be calmer, simpler problems. But make sure there's always a question that needs answering, or else why would the reader need to keep reading?

There will always be something to overcome!


I have been wondering why we love that so much. Why we love a good problem.

Of course there's the obvious face-value reasons that no-one wants to read about or watch a film about a 'normal' person's life. Or even a fabulously amazing person's 'normal' life. People just want the excitement of a snippet of that normal life when everything comes unstuck. Then, when it's time to press pause, or put down the book, life returns to your own safe normality. Because we all have to grow up and succumb to it. Don't we?

As teenagers we have an abundance of hormones and emotions hitting us, making even the mundane exciting. When I was at school and sixth form there would always be some form of drama unfolding (granted, it was mostly to do with boys - ones out of my league, I have a type!!) and it would fuel hours of hushed conversations during class. Everything had a edge to it or a glimmer of something fantastic. There was a constant buzz! Which, to be fair, probably wasn't great for the blood pressure!! But we were teenagers, who cares?!

Then, when real life kicks in, nothing is about the excitement anymore. It's about the bills, and the jobs, and the pensions and the mundane… Apparently so anyway. I'm still waiting for mine to kick in!! And I wonder if we all are in some way or another! And reading or watching the drama unfold for someone else is actually a nod to us that it's ok to still be waiting.

Be a Sadist! How to Create a Character Profile when Writing a Book. I know that I still love excitement, good and bad. I've never wanted a 9-5 or a pension and I definitely still aim for those things that are just out of reach. So does being a sadist to my characters come easily because I'm so good at doing it to myself? Or is that just how life works?

Either way I'm loving it and I wouldn't change it for the world.



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