PubCrawl Podcast: Crafting Characters

This week Kelly and JJ discuss HOW to write compelling characters. Once again, we talk way too much about Dragon Age and Life is Strange. 😂

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Show Notes

  • Previous episodes on characterization
  • What makes a compelling character? Vulnerability.
    • Vulnerability differs from strengths and weaknesses in that vulnerability stems from the character’s subconscious emotional needs. Vulnerability often manifests itself as a driving philosophy or world view that affects all of the characters’ decisions.
    • Needs vs. wants = both come from vulnerability. Vulnerability drives the subconscious need of a character, whereas what the character wants is generally an external manifestation of how to assuage their vulnerability.
  • How to write compelling characters
    • Identify your character’s need.
      • A character’s need is not a tangible thing; they are more conceptual, e.g. a fear of being abandoned and the need to protect themselves from that fear vs. the need to feel secure, which can often stem from a deeper fear, like loss of control.
    • Reveal your character’s vulnerability through action and small details
      • How a character behaves stems from their needs, how they react to stress or other people or events

What We’re Working On

  • Kelly is wrapping things up before the end of the year
  • JJ is drafting her next book

What We’re Reading

Off Menu Recommendations

What You’re Asking

What trad pub debuts, what’s the best marketing/publicity thing the authors can do on their own? And when’s a good time to dig into it? (I’m about a year out and totally overwhelmed by conflicting info/advice)
—Mike Chen

Well…this isn’t helpful in any practical sense, but only do the promotion that you like doing. A year out is a bit far in advance to be worrying about these sorts of things. We’ve talked about promotion on the podcast before, but marketing/publicity is something you should coordinate with your marketing/publicity department. However, if you are looking something concrete to do right now, start up a newsletter and build up your subscribers. Having bookmarks or business cards is also useful. Networking is more useful at this stage of your publishing journey than active, front/reader-facing promotion.

That’s all for this week! Next week we will be on hiatus for the holidays, but we shall return with more in the Crafting Characters series! As always if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, send us an ask on Tumblr, or tweet using the hashtag #askpubcrawl!

One Response to PubCrawl Podcast: Crafting Characters

  1. Haley Dec 16 2017 at 8:13 pm #

    I’m planning on applying to the Columbia Publishing Course and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, and I was wondering what you thought of the programs?

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