Analyzing the negative approach

Photo of a sharpened pencil, next to pencil shavings and small, gray pencil sharpener

One of my goals with these guides is to think about different ways to look at story development.

Despite what some writers may claim, there is no “right way” to approach your character’s problems without digging deep. Understanding the motivations and conflicts that drive a character’s decisions and actions is essential.

You need to understand how their past experiences have shaped their present and how their present affects their future. This is how you build believable and authentic characters.

Skirting the surface is a disservice to your reader. In fact, with most issues, there is no single “one size fits all” path.

You can tell your story effectively by targeting a pain point at the right time. The most effective way to approach a problem is by looking honestly at the overall situation and deciding on an unusual course of action.

“Subverting expectations” is always talked about, but you should make those choices in a way that feels genuine to your readers. Your choices should be based on what best serves your story. To be original, stay true to the characters and story, and avoid making unnecessary left-field choices.

47 words that evoke negative emotions

Emotions also have a negative side, which should be explored as well.

  1. Accusing
  2. Aggravated
  3. Agitated
  4. Angry
  5. Apathetic
  6. Arrogant
  7. Artificial
  8. Audacious
  9. Belligerent
  10. Bitter
  11. Boring
  12. Brash
  13. Childish
  14. Choleric
  15. Coarse
  16. Cold
  17. Condemnatory
  18. Critical
  19. Desperate
  20. Disappointed
  21. Disgruntled
  22. Disinterested
  23. Facetious
  24. Furious
  25. Harsh
  26. Hateful
  27. Haughty
  28. Hurtful
  29. Indignant
  30. Inflammatory
  31. Insulting
  32. Irritated
  33. Manipulative
  34. Obnoxious
  35. Outraged
  36. Passive
  37. Quarrelsome
  38. Shameful
  39. Smooth
  40. Snooty
  41. Superficial
  42. Surly
  43. Testy
  44. Threatening
  45. Tired
  46. Uninterested
  47. Wrathful

There is a specific difficulty in seeing the negative approach, especially in the beginning. Maybe something in you is holding you back from a creative standpoint. But it’s possible even if it is difficult.

Embracing the dark side requires you to see the world in the way it is rather than seeing the world in the way you want it to be.

You must push yourself to see things in a way that serves the story and, ultimately, your reader.

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