Friday, June 28, 2013

Know your people

Torture your character. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get that. We heard it a WIFYR.

But you also have to know your characters. Who are these people? You've been writing through them, about them, but do you know them? I've got three main ones in the current project. Do they sound alike? Can they be distinguished? They all have separate histories they bring to that moment in the story. They have their purposes.

Experts have advised you do some exercises to nail down your people. Ann Cannon had us analyze our characters by answering a series of questions. There are the normal: age, gender, family members, physical description, etc. Then others that are more specific and can reveal personality. Do they go to school and do they like it? For middle grade characters, ask what does she do at recess? What is she good at? What's her favorite  TV show, sport, book, animal, music, or thing to collect. How revealing if you give them a nickname or describe their bedroom. Torture your characters, but do understand who they are.

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