Sunday, April 6, 2014

Turn Your Main Character's World Upside Down

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013-2014 Joan Y. Edwards
“Turn Your Main Character's World Upside Down” by Joan Y. Edwards

If your main character has everything he needs, take the most significant thing from him. Pick his pocket. Get it out of his closet or take it off the shelf. Turn your main character’s world upside down.

Let me explain.

For instance, some children must have their blankets with them wherever they go. Baby Bop called hers,"Blanky." Others may call it Wooby, like they did in the movie, Mr. Mom. It is their security blanket. If they can’t touch it, they become emotionally unglued and devastated.

Here’s the definition of Wooby from Urban Dictionary:
Urban Dictionary: wooby
(noun) Security blanket, teddy bear, or any physical item (for children) or emotional feeling (for adults) that gives a safe, fuzzy, warm aura.

What is your main character's security blanket? Take your main character’s security blanket away so that he becomes emotionally unstable and in a state of despair great enough to cause him to risk change in order to get it back or get that same feeling of security from reaching his goal.
  1. If your character is addicted to a schedule, change it.
  2. If your character is addicted to coffee, have a coffee shortage.
  3. If your character is addicted to fancy, expensive clothing, have him spend time with the homeless with a torn T-shirt and a pair of shorts.
  4. If your character needs to have his wallet with him at all times, have him lose it.
  5. If your character needs a car to get to where he’s going, have it break down.
  6. If your character needs to have a security system to feel safe, have a storm knock it out.
  7. If your character depends on another character for his money, have that character disappear and make him have to get a job.
  8. If your character is a runner who needs good running shoes, have someone switch his shoes to one of a smaller or larger size or a shoe that is not a big name brand..
  9. If your character needs an alarm clock, break it.
  10. If your character needs a great hair style, have the hairdresser chop it off.
When you take away your main character’s security blanket, he will have to deal with his anger, loss, and will have to make changes to reach his goal. When you take away his security blanket, he becomes vulnerable. Readers relate to vulnerable characters. A reader might say, “I can’t stand to be without my lucky pen, I understand how he feels.” When readers find characters similar to them, they are drawn to them and find them lovable.

Try taking away your main character's security blanket. You’ll like it. Your readers will, too.

How do you make your main characters vulnerable and lovable? Please leave a comment to let me know. 

Celebrate you and your gift of writing,

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

I hope you'll read Flip Flap Floodle to your children because even mean ole Mr. Fox can't stop this little duck from playing his song.
Paperback, Kindle and Nook

Joan’s Elder Care Guide, Release December 2014 by 4RV Publishing
Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


  1. Thanks for a good thought, Joan. I think that's true of devotional writing too although I haven't explored the idea fully. But it worked for me. Take away my health through cancer and I became another person! Ultimately, a published author.

    1. Dear Shirley,
      Thanks for writing. I'm glad I gave you good thoughts. Changes both wanted and unwanted must be dealt with in a story and in life. In life we can put it off indefinitely, but in a story, we're much more stuck to a narrow time span for reactions and actions.

      I'm glad you write. I enjoy your articles.

  2. Great tips! This is so important in building your character and showing how he/she can overcome obstacles and grow.

    1. Dear Heidi,
      Thanks for writing. I'm glad you thought these were great tips in building character and showing how he/she can overcome obstacles and grow.

  3. Thanks for the post. I agree it's important to show your character's vulnerability.

    1. Dear Mary Jo,
      Thanks for writing. You're welcome for the post. Our vulnerability sometimes makes us lovable and memorable.

  4. A very concrete way of demonstrating one way to create character conflict.

    1. Dear Magdalena,
      Thank you for writing. I'm glad that you felt this was a very concrete way of demonstrating one way to create character conflict. There are many proven way...probably fills more than 100 books. Choosing areas to focus makes it simpler for us to understand and be able to use it in our writing.

  5. Joan, Excellent way to get your story going!

  6. Dear Karen,
    Thanks for writing. I'm glad you think this is an excellent way to get your story going.

  7. I haven't thought of my mc's trials and tribulations in quite this way, Joan, and thanks to your post, will give it some serious thought. Thanks!

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. I'm glad that I gave you a new way to think about the trials and tribulations of your main character. I know that using this and your creative forces, you'll come up with something magnificent.

  8. Thanks Joan, Your an idea machine and get us all thinking!

  9. Dear Mona,
    Thank you for writing. I am humbled by your calling me "An Idea Machine." Good luck. You are a great "thinking machine."


  10. I can't wait to make a list of my mc woobies. He certainly has more than one. But it's that MAIN one that I will focus on! Thanks for the tip!

    1. Dear Tina,
      Thanks for wriing. I know you will make a great list of woobies for your main character. Choosing the ivotaone to focus onisagreat idea.

      Believe in you ad your writing!
      Never Give Up

      Joan Y. edwards


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