Hello, fellow writers and aspiring writers and anyone who might find this blog to be helpful.
Beginning Comments: Please keep in mind that these tips may not work for everyone, but it is what has worked best for me and my writing. So hopefully it’ll help you, too.
I come to you today with a subject on CHARACTERS. Throughout my writing journey, I’ve come to understand that all writers write differently. And that’s okay. It’s what makes us stand out as individuals. I’ve always been a discovery writer (someone who starts writing with little or no planning). But, as I’ve watched Brandon Sanderson’s lectures, I’ve adapted to planning. And, I must say, I enjoy planning.
One of the main things I plan is characters. What’s a book if it doesn’t have great characters, right?
Here’s a quote from writersandartist.co.uk: (click the link for the entire article)
A story certainly needs a plot. We have to feel the characters will do something interesting and it will be a tale worth telling. But part of the reason a story is interesting is who it’s happening to. Everyone’s unique, and a well-drawn character will help create a unique plot. Put Jane Eyre, Mrs de Winter, Elizabeth Bennet, Oliver Twist or Philip Marlowe in an identical situation, and you’ll get five completely different stories.
To some people, plot is everything. To others, characters is everything. To me, both are equally important. I spend time with my characters, as crazy as that may seem. I talk to them in my head. I ask them questions. I figure out what they like and don’t like. Their dreams and ambitions.
To make this easier, I searched for good character questionnaires. Here’s two that I found to be the most helpful:
I have a binder, just a standard 1″, that is titled “Characters for [Novel Title].” In my current situation, it’s “Characters for Poppy Jameson.” I print one of each of the questionnaires listed above for EACH character. Then, I literally fill out the answers by hand and put them in the character binder. Sure, this takes a while. But I enjoy getting to know these characters in the process.
If I need a break from working on these for a while, sometimes I like to search for free stock images that resemble my characters. I’m a very visual person. I like seeing the character I’m spending time with. I do know artists that could sketch them for me. But, if I’m in a rush or low on funds, I go to Pixabay or Pexels. Sometimes I don’t find any pictures that resemble my characters. But sometimes I DO! And that’s an exciting moment. Just be sure not to pass them off as your own art. Give credit where credit is due.
I hope this will help your writing as much as it has mine. Oh, and one last tip on character building, if you’re a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s… he’s got a video on this subject. Check it out by clicking here.