Canada Writes·Writing Tip

Looking for the heart of your story? Explore why your characters matter

CBC Nonfiction Prize longlister Christie Pashby says you can add depth to your story when you better understand your characters.

This writing tip is from Christie Pashby.

"Focus on the why, not the what. It's about getting to the heart of the story and exploring what motivates characters (including myself). I think that's where you find the juiciest 'stuff.' And while details — aka 'the what' — are surely important, it's 'the why' that makes a story transformative."

Christie Pashby is a professional writer and content creator who lives with her young daughter in Canmore, Alta. For 15 years, she was a travel writer based between Patagonia, Argentina and the Canadian Rockies. Her story  River Dreams — Learning to Fly-fish in Patagonia  made the longlist for the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize.



To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.