Thanks for all the wonderful comments you've been leaving on these character posts. I'm so glad they've been helpful. I'm in the process right now of fleshing my characters out for my new story ... I'm trying a middle grade fantasy, using a thirteen year old boy for my main character. I haven't writen in the male POV yet, so I'm really spending a lot of time getting to know my guy before I start writing him. I want his voice to come over in just the right way.
I also have a major antagonist in this story and I'm spending just as much time figuring out all her motivations as much as my protagonist's. One way I do this is by putting my main characters through an interview. Now, I know not everyone does this ... and I, in no way, insist you can't have good characters if you don't. What works for me, may not work for you, and vice ersa. I'm just sharing with you MY way of doing it, in case it helps.
The beauty of storytelling, is that there is no one right way to do it. Writers figure out what works best for them and they use it. For me, after writing five novel length stories, I've found that THIS is the way that works best for my stories and characters.
So on to the interview:
1. What does he/she look like? How does he talk? How does she act physically? Any mannerisms?
2. What is his background? Where was he born? What were her parents like? How was he raised? Where did he go to school? What level education?
3. What is her job? What special skills does her job require and how will they affect her role in the story? What about hobbies and talents learned from them?
4. What is her family? Parents? Husband? Her relation to him? Children? Relation? Why not kids? Divorced? Why? Why not?
5. What kind of home?
6. Did she have a significant event in her past that shaped her?
7. What would he die to defend?
8. What is his most likeable trait? Least likeable?
9. What trait does she respect most in others?
10. What does she want to be doing 20 years from now?
11. Who are his best friends?
12. How does he feel toward the opposite sex?
13. What is his deepest secret?
14. What does she like best about her life? Like least?
15. What is his main problem at beginning of story?
16. What is ideal happy ending for this character?
17. Why should readers like or relate to him?
18. Why should reader care about this character?
Some other aspects of a character to keep in mind:
These are just a collection of questions I've gathered from different places.
Why does this method of intense character development work for me?? Because the more I know about what makes my character tick, the more twists and turns I can develop within my plot while I'm writing that first draft. For example, I did a character sketch for my antagonist with my new WIP, and I've been outlining the actual plot so I know where I want my story to go. But I really want to make my villain awesome, so I went a step further and put her through these questions, plus the Triangle of Traits and I realized my plot is different than I expected. Once I got to know my villainous vixen better, I discovered there was more to my story than I anticipated.
Now, I realize you can arrive at the same conclusion from writing the first draft by the seat of your pants ... and hey, if that works best for you, bravo! For me, I love being in charge of that first draft and throwing my developed characters together to see how they react with each other.
On a side note, lots of book birthdays recently! So many new stories released and others on their way out very soon!! Any you're particularly excited for? What about character questions? Are there any you like to ask that I've missed? What methods do you take when developing your characters?
Also, still time to get in for Colene Murphey's Luck O' the Irish St. Patty's Day Blogfest! Click for the details.
Tune in next time for an in depth discussion on the villain. Muhahahahahahaha ..........
This is me when someone keeps interrupting my writing. I need a sign to hang on my office with her picture on it that says, "Disturb me, and suffer morbid, gruesome consequences."