Likability: Rating Character Approval

The audience can relate to them, meaning they see some of themselves in them: “Oh yes, I ALSO eat food in order to not die!”

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Hey guys! I made the best character ever!

They’ve got a heart-wrenching, tragic backstory to make them morally complex, yet they are also relatable and always make the right choices!

Everyone that matters loves them and everyone that doesn’t is proven wrong as a mean stupid-head!

I gave them all the best lines and quotes, and the world comes to a halt unless they’re around!

…What do you mean YOU DON’T LIKE THEM? I just TOLD you to like them! What’s the deal with THAT?

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Politics: Voting For The Messes

But when we expect the Care Bears to literally defeat evil with positive thinking, it may be VERY unwelcome when they discuss Care-A-Lot’s latest fiscal report.

Well, gee. With a title you can plainly see, I wonder what this week’s topic could be about?

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Using YOUR tax dollars!

…That’s right! It’s POLITICS! One of the jobs it is acceptable to deride as a wretched hive of scum and villainy, right up there with lawyers and your childhood dentist!

But what do huge executive decisions have to do with WRITING? Well, let’s take a look, shall we?

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Structure 101: Beginning With Beginnings

As in “Once upon a time, there was this kingdom, things used to be good, then they got messed up because of this evil thing, and they were incapable of solving their own problems until a complete stranger showed up.”

There are many ways to look at stories: Stories are about conflict, stories are about themes and messages, stories are just for entertainment, stories are a bright spot in a dark universe, stories are how we face our inner demons, stories are a series of words arranged in a certain way in order to describe a series of events.

But beneath all that quotable fluff that’s fodder for inspiration porn, beyond the genres and motives, stories share something under the hood: A beginning, middle, and end.

And over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking a closer look at the skeleton of stories, starting with…the middle, clearly.

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Love-to-Hate Relationships

We’re talking Scooby-Doo, villain-of-the-week, “tear down the orphanage and build a toxic pollution factory because I love the tears of children” levels of motivation.

Today I’ll be talking about characters you love to hate! Or is that characters you should hate but love? The answer, my readers, is: Yes.

So, everyone knows their own reasons for liking a characters. Could be personality, abilities, design. Could be a snappy one-liner or an achievement you really loved. There are characters we love wholeheartedly, and ones we despise and want to see dead.

But somewhere out there, some characters occupy a sweet spot, a mix of antagonism and admiration. Whatever it is, they share one thing with the characters that matter to you: You enjoy watching them.

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