Write a Better Plot (Video Series) Step 2

We are now on the second step of Martha Alderson’s plot series, as we learn how to write a novel. In the first video, we learned about the dramatic action plot, and identified what our characters want. As examples, we looked at three characters from a couple of movies. These were Aragorn, Frodo, and Hiccup, from the Lord of the Rings and How to Train Your Dragon.

In this new video, Martha talks about character emotional development in a novel, memoir or screenplay.

To reiterate, our characters must have flaws that will allow them to grow and be transformed through the course of our stories. Now let’s look at examples:Frodo: Frodo is very noble and generous, to a fault. His big flaw is excessive trust. Because of his generous character, he chooses to believe in the good inside everyone, even Gollum. And thus, he is driven to sacrifice even his own life to protect those last vestiges of goodness in others.

Aragorn: This future king of Gondor has two flaws that go hand-in-hand. Doubt and fear. He doubts his ability to resist the ring’s power, and he fears that his inadequacy will cause the downfall of Middle Earth. This is what holds him back for most of the story, and the reason he has chosen the life of a Ranger, instead of laying a claim on the throne.

Hiccup: Hiccup’s flaw, from the point of view of his tribe and even himself, is that he is unable to kill a dragon. He is too weak and sensitive to be his father’s heir and eventual chief. He is not like the other Vikings, and tries hard to fit in somehow, but fails.


I really appreciate Martha for providing these free novel writing tips for us. What insights does this video give you about your own story characters?

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