Creating Characters with Character… Part 3

writers-blockIn Part 3, we are placing your characters in odd situations to see their character at work. Putting your characters in crazy, unlikely scenarios can help you understand what their reactions should be to events happening in your story. The more you can get into their psyche, the better you can predict what they’d really do. I think a lot of authors use the excuse, ‘they’ll do what I want them to, because their in my head’, but that doesn’t work if you want your reader to believe in them. It may be that your villain is consistently inconsistent, and you have to remain true to that if you want them to be trusted and followed. You may have a main character that is super-clumsy, and that means they shouldn’t have a black belt in karate, nor be able to chop the bad guys out of the picture. Use Part 3 to build your character’s character and fill in the unique, real, nitty-gritty responses and feelings they would have.

Here’s a writing exercise that may seem quirky, but it can help you answer the what ifs for your character, instead of yourself. (Use the same character you’ve done the above exercises for.)

What if (Character’s Name)…

sat next to you at work/school/church? Would they get along with you? What would they like, and what would they be annoyed with about you?

tumblr_m5n00mP1qg1qew1kmo1_1280What if (Character’s Name)…

was a tribute in Katniss Everdeen’s Hunger Games? How long would they survive? Who would they team up with, if they teamed up at all? Why?

What if (Character’s Name)…

was stuck at home for five days because of a freak blizzard? What would they do? Who would be stuck with them? What would they eat? Try journaling each day as your character, and write the progression of their emotions and thoughts.

Creating those What Ifs was fun, and I may have to do a post full of them one day! I hope that all of these activities open your eyes, mind, and heart to your characters so they can have the chance to come alive in your novel.

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