Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Character Recipe

A cup of action hero, a dash of debonair,  a pinch of mystery, or a sprinkle of good looks what makes a character unforgettable?  There are characters we watch faithfully every week on TV, read every book written about them. Even some we write and just can’t stop at one story.

These characters have something that draws us into their world. It’s different for everyone. The same as everyone has a favorite ice cream flavor, they have a favorite character or character type.

There’s no perfect recipe in fact you don’t want any character to be perfect. It’s those, flaws and vulnerabilities that make us fall in love. To find out what it is that will give your character the right quirk you need to ask them questions.

Yes, I’m asking you to go a lil crazy and talk to imaginary people for a few minutes. You might even have fun doing it. Sit down and ask them a few things about their personality, their wants, needs and goals. Do they think they can achieve the lofty goal you’ve set out for them?

You might even ask what they don’t like, do they have a secret you haven’t been told yet. Or about an event in their past that doesn’t even take place in the book or story. Is it something that they just want to tell you or is it something that could better build your plot?

You might be surprised at the interesting things characters will tell you about themselves. Or even another character in their story, yeah who figured they like juicy gossip as much as we do.  J

To help in plunder for the right spice to add to your recipe here’s a short questionnaire to ask darlings.

1. What kind of childhood did the character have?
2. Was there an event during the early years of life that impacted their future?
3. How do they deal with conflict or change?
4. How do they feel about falling in love/ relationships?
5. What do they want most that doesn’t have to do with the goal of the story?
6. Do they have something they hate/ dislike?
7. Do they believe in God/ faith?
8. What would make them change sides even temporarily? (ie… from a good law abiding person to committing a crime)
9. Do they have keepsakes of their past?
10. Is there someone in their story besides the obvious villain they have concerns about or don’t quite trust? 

This post is part of the Fellow Writers Blog Hop that takes place the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Want to read more great blogs about this months topic Character Building? Just click the Fellow Writers logo at the top of this post or go to that page of this blog for the linky listing of all participating blogs.  Happy Hopping! 

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