Author Archives: Melanie Anne Phillips

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist drives the plot forward. Antagonist tries to stop him. The Protagonist is the Prime Mover of the effort to achieve the Story’s Goal. The Antagonist is the Chief Obstacle to that effort. In a sense, Protagonist is the irresistible … Continue reading

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Fire Your Protagonist!

Many authors start with a Protagonist and then build a cast of characters around him or her. But as a story develops, it may turn out that one of the other characters becomes more suited for that role. Sticking with … Continue reading

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The Main Character Element of the Hero Stereotype

Of all four attributes of the hero, his role as the Main Character is perhaps the most intriguing. As described in an earlier writing tip, the Main Character represents the audience position in the story, and is the character with … Continue reading

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Creating Characters: The Villain

A villain is the dramatic antithesis of a hero, and therefore has the following four attributes: He is the Antagonist He is the Influence Character He is second in prominence to the Central Character He is a Bad Guy By … Continue reading

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Creating Characters: “My Hero!”

We’ve all heard the phrase, “the hero’s journey.” Much has been written about the steps in this journey and the nature of the hero himself. What is usually assumed is that the “hero” is an elemental character who possesses certain … Continue reading

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Narrative Structure and the I Ching

A career psychotherapist recently wrote me about a method he is developing to employ theater in the therapy process, including an association with the I Ching. Many years ago he had encountered our Dramatica Theory of Narrative and noted a … Continue reading

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Character Development Tricks!

As trite as it might seem, ask yourself “What would a story be without characters?” The answer can help you get a grip on exactly what characters really do in a story, and therefore how to build them effectively. Although … Continue reading

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“Things” as Characters

 A writer asks: “My favorite creative writing book is ‘Setting’ by Jack Bickham. Use of setting as primary with characters, plot, theme, mood, etc derived from it and interacting with it seems of particular value in science fiction. Where would … Continue reading

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Writing Characters of the Opposite Sex

Perhaps the most fundamental error made by authors, whether novice or experienced, is that all their characters, male and female, tend to reflect the gender of the author. This is hardly surprising, since recent research finally proves that men and … Continue reading

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Does Your Story Suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder?

In psychology, Multiple Personality Disorder describes a person who has more than one complete personality. Typically, only one of those personalities will be active at any given time. This is because they usually share attributes, and so only one can … Continue reading

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