Monday, February 2, 2009

A Resolution with Character

Are you the master of only great beginnings? Do your stories end with fireworks or just sort of a fizzle? Endings and resolutions are a struggle for many writers, however focusing on character can help you ‘resolve’ the issue.

Too often, writers focus on the storyline, when all great stories reside in the characters. It’s as if they were building a beautiful city without taking the potential inhabitants into consideration. But characters are what give a story heart and soul. It is their emotions, struggles and triumphs that draw in the reader. It stands to reason then that the resolution should revolve around this powerful force.

When inspiration strikes, focus on at least one main character before devising the plot. Create a profile sheet on this character, or several if possible, and flesh these individuals out in full detail. Consider each one’s background and basic personality type. Give these individuals ambitions and weaknesses as well as strengths. No one is perfect, so make the characters flawed, diverse and interesting.

Even if the story is just a wisp of an idea, characters should still be created. If you envision a murder at a ski resort, then who is involved? If it’s a fantasy setting, who inhabits this world? Regardless of the setting, the story must contain characters that catch the reader’s attention and interest. Take the time now to create these individuals.

Armed with a few well-defined characters, you may find the resolution lies within their flaws. Often one or more individuals’ weaknesses not only become the crux of the story but the resolution as well. A character with a significant shortcoming could overcome this challenge in the end. A reluctant hero on a quest might harbor internal struggles that must be resolved in order to achieve victory. An overconfident and selfish character may eventually discover a little humility. Analyze the weaknesses and consider how one might triumph over such an imperfection. Take advantage of your character’s greatest fault!

Depending on the tone of your work, the character might not reveal his flaw until the very end. The hero could turn out to be the villain. Talk about a twist ending! A character might make a vital mistake in the last scenes of the story, ending in defeat rather than triumph. A secret could come back to haunt that individual. Perhaps it might even result in the death of the character. There are many genres where this type of resolution is perfectly suited.

Sometimes it is not so much a character’s flaws but his goals that provide a resolution. I used this idea for the first book in my series, The Circle of Friends. I envisioned a swimmer, and my ending became obvious when I inserted the word Olympics. What are your character’s ambitions? If he is a treasure hunter, then discovering the mother load in an ancient temple might be a fitting resolution. Whether the goals are political or athletic, personal or business, a resolution may easily lie in the accomplishment of a dream.

With any journey, there must be a destination worthy of the travel. Before investing heavily in the plot, create the inhabitants of the scene and allow them to contribute to the resolution. Not only will great endings reveal themselves more rapidly, you’ll find the entire storyline process easier and more enjoyable. And that joy is why we write in the first place!

- Author & professional speaker, L. Diane Wolfe

Copyright 2009 - L. Diane Wolfe


  1. Thanks so much, Lynne!

    L. Diane Wolfe


About Me

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The Literary Lynnch Pen is a weekly newsletter published by Lynn Tincher. About Lynn: Lynn was born in the small town of La Grange, Kentucky and grew up in Goshen. Lynn studied Theater Arts in College in hopes of becoming a Drama/English teacher. She has written articles in local newspapers and travel brochures. Now, she is focused on writing novels, short stories and poems. The second edition of her book "Afterthoughts" will be released in April of 2009 with the sequel "Left in the Dark" to be released on October of 2009. She also manages Artist Corner, an artist social website dedicated to help all artists become successful. Her eZine and website provides helpful tips and information. Lynn also provides email list management services. She has partnered with Constant Contact to help provide authors, artists, and small businesses the services to manage their email lists and marketing strategies, eZines, electronic newsletters, coupons and bulletins. Please visit: