The “Boring Stuff”


When aspiring writers ask me how to make characters feel more solid and believable, there’s one piece of advice I often give.

Don’t forget the ‘boring’ stuff.

I don’t mean that a story should be boring. Heavens, no. I’m just saying that we writers have so much fun writing the weird and wonderful parts of our tales, that sometimes we lost track of our characters’ ordinary, everyday needs.

What? Even knights have to eat. Even knights have to eat.

The story may be about love, death, revenge, jealousy, exploration, mysteries or power, but actual people also have to think about food, sleep, money, shelter, warmth and washing.

Hungry people don’t just feel ‘hunger pangs’ or faintness, they lose concentration or get cranky.

Tired people squabble, forget things, have slower reactions than usual and in extreme cases hallucinate. (A friend of mine was once so very tired that she hallucinated a giant cow appearing in front of…

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