As a writer have you ever felt like the task of assembling a cast of characters is akin to hiring personnel to guard the President? Often that is what it can feel like if you don’t have a strategy to help you to perfect those memorable, yet fictitious beings.
Developing characters that readers will remember and talk about as if they were real, takes skill, a vivid imagination and WORK. One of the best ways to build your characters is getting to know them, and at times, become them. Get inside their heads and feel what they feel, see what they see, walk and talk like them. Sound crazy? To some it may be, but there is a line from Driving Ms. Daisy that stayed with me. The scene was that of Ms. Daisy making a statement of assumption to her driver Hoke. His simper yet profound response was, “How can you see what I see, lest you seeing through my eyes?”
How can you the writer be true to the reader lest you know who your characters are from the inside out and present them in a way no other author could?
Start with a character chart. You don’t have to marry the first draft, just sketch them out and then take a look at how you have or plan to use them to move the story along.
I once read that the characteristics of a character should be written in such a way that your reader will know who they are even if their name doesn’t appear in the scene. So how do you do that? Add those little idiosyncrasies that may not initially be picked up, but are key to who they are, what could possibly transpire if they show up or you tick them off. Equally as important to building the character is their profession, education, life experiences, family dynamics, personal fetishes and much more.
I will reiterate that building strong characters takes work, but it can also be fun. Bounce their personalities of a few friends or professionals who can help bring clarity to road blocks.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope this has been helpful to you. I invite you to return next Tuesday. Our topic will be Too Much Drama. Until then – blessed and don’t forget to use your words to bear good fruit.