Every story begins and ends with its characters.
Writing is great fun. You can describe the most thrilling events, mighty battles and huge empires rising and falling. You can imagine remarkable and fantastic settings, other worlds or bizarre creatures like no-one has ever seen before. Or you can explore your own back garden, your own attic or the town you live in. When the world is inside your head, anything is possible.
But none of it matters to a reader unless they know who it’s happening to.
We need a hero, someone to follow as they move through the glorious world you invented. We need a devious villain for them to fight, a loyal sidekick for them to lean on, a clever mentor to guide them. We need them all to feel so real that we can see the world through their eyes, and cheer them on to win. And win… what? What do they want? What do they need, what is their goal?
If you know that, then you know everything. Work out what they want, and then make it almost impossible for them to get it. All those wonderful creatures, all those terrifying battles, they all have a purpose now, they have a reason to be there in your world.
And it all starts with your characters. If you know what they want, you know who they are.
Find out more about Mark Hood here. He is the author of Jacob’s War which is a prequel to the Fae Defence Society series. He is currently working on The Return of the Martians, a sequel to the War of the Worlds.