Saturday, April 11, 2015

Character development: Cross-pollinating the fertile fields

Insects collecting nectar unintentionally tran... Image via Wikipedia

Character development: Cross-pollinating the fertile fields

After you have identified your characters and given them roles the next step is to develop their individual details.  Going back to Red, The Wolf, Granny and The Woodsman, now is the time to flesh them out both in appearance and…well…character.

Who is this person? You need as many details as you can muster to make your characters come alive.  The end result is that your story is rich. 

What is the character’s goal—his stated objective? 
What is her need—what she really needs in life? 
What is his present status?  
What are his ambitions? 
What is her background?  

You need to understand your character even if 90% of the details you create are not used in the story. 

What are this character’s particular talents and skills? 
What kind of personality does she have? 
What are his tastes and preferences? 

As you start answering these questions for each of the main characters you will also come up with ideas for settings.  

Does your protagonist love to cook?
What does her kitchen look like?  
Modern and sleek?  
Just the basics?  
What colors predominate? 

As you work through the process going deeper into details, you'll find you have not only a good sense of your character, but details that you can turn into plot pivots.

Make separate files for Characters, Scenes, Settings, so that as a detail sparks another idea you can quickly go to the appropriate file and add the new idea.  The process is long and involved, but when you start writing the story you know that character.

Like a bee buzzing from flower to flower, one idea cross-pollinates another.  Your story details become rich.

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