Sometimes characters quit behaving and decide they don’t want to do anything. This can be a problem when you are trying to get the story finished. But there is a solution if you have tried everything else. You just kill all the current characters off. This doesn’t get the story finished though as it stops things in their tracks, so you put in new characters to finish the story. You pick characters who are willing to talk to you and pick up where the last ones left off.
This solves all of the problems. The characters who are giving you issues are gone as well as fueling the continuation of the story. You get to work with new characters who could be a lot more fun than the original ones. Also the story will get finished, likely will be better than if you stuck to the first set of characters.
So, if you are having problems in your story kill off all your characters and start again with new ones. This should help move the story along. After all the new characters have to figure out what happened to the previous ones and finish what they started.
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At the end of the book, kill off your main character. This prevents your character from coming back and demanding more stories from you. Nothing is more annoying than a character who does not realize you have other tales to tell with different people. If you do not do something about such character, they will sit beside you and drone on for hours about other adventures they have for you to write down.
The solution to this is to kill them off. When their story is finished, find some really interesting way for them to kick the bucket. Make it worthy for your readers to give them proper closure, as you do not leave the reader hanging. Maybe the villain was not quite and dead as everyone thought and grabbed the character before they both tumbled down into the lava. Or maybe they had a terminal disease which overcomes them in the last few pages. Or maybe they sacrifice themselves for someone they love. But when you are done with a character, kill them off so they do not bother you again.
I recently finished reading the book Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen. I would recommend any of his books as they are the type to keep me reading after I should have gone to bed. A big part of why his books are so good is the characters he comes up with. The main protagonist is interesting and easy to get invested in, but the rest of the characters wander off the page in their own unique way. I’m not sure Hiaasen’s writing technique, but my own is to take a character and let them tell their story through me. I do not control my characters and when I try they do not cooperate. It is their story and I just get to hear it first.
Having a plot is useless to me unless it comes with the character to tell me the story. Settings are interesting, but there has to be someone there to stand out or I can’t write the story. This is probably why I need to work on writing description, because the character sees it every day and already knows what things look like.
Whether in books or in life, most of us are drawn to people with character. We like the people who are contradictions and stand out in the crowd. So, if you have great setting and a wonderful plot, you better have a character to navigate those or you are going to lose readers. And the story moves along much better when the writer listens to the character rather than a character who listens to the writer.