As I mentioned in my last post, my characters stopped playing with one another nicely recently. It took a little time for me to stop being so stubborn (I prefer “resolute,” thank you) and examine why it was happening. My hero jumped into the spotlight and showed of facets of his personality I’d not seen before. Oh! Our heroine said, so eloquently, as one by one they took center stage. The impact on the plot has been astonishing. Just as the characters are stronger and more interesting, the story itself has fleshed out marvelously.
How well do you know your characters, dear Reader? Here are five links that may help you improve your relationship with them:
The Character Wall: This is a great way to start organizing and exploring your characters. Let it inspire you to create your own format. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a whole wall to devote to the project. Instead, I used index cards. A photo album might work, too.
Creating Characters that Jump off the Page: Take a look at this terrific piece on character creation. It’s a good, methodical approach to building a character you know well.
Developing Realistic Characters: I like this article for two reasons. It describes a good way to go about the initial steps for defining a character. It is also a good introduction to the concept of Character Interviews. Remember when interviewing to ask really off-the-wall questions, too. Try not to feel silly doing this. You might be surprised at how well you get to know you characters.
Character Traits – I Like Junk Food and Gin, and I Stutter: Details are important when creating good characters. This popular piece describes how to flesh out your character in ways you may not have considered.
Imperfections As Perfections: Here’s a short but inspiring perspective on character flaws. Don’t just focus on your character’s strengths. He needs to be three dimensional or he’ll be a snorefest.
Warning: Don’t be surprised if getting to know your characters better forces you to reconsider the novel you’ve already plotted and outlined! Be open to the new perspectives and you may end up with a stronger storyline than you had planned.