Getting to know your characters is the fist step in developing the role they will play in your story. The second step is getting to know how your characters know each other. In this post I’ve put together two writing exercises to help you build a backstory for your characters’ relationships, and also get to know how your characters feel about each other. I’ll use ‘Character A’ and ‘Character B’ for these exercises, as examples.
#1 Choose TWO characters from your story, and answer the following questions about their backstory. (You can use this exercise with several characters and in a cross-section of ways.)
- How long have Character A and Character B known each other? Where did they meet? (Be as specific as you can.)
- What was their first impression of each other?
- After first meeting, what is it that Character A likes best about Character B, and vice versa?
- What is it that Character A dislikes most about Character B, and vice versa?
- Is there an event in your characters’ lives that has effected their relationship in a positive or negative way? Explain.
- If these characters have known each other over a period of time, how has their relationship changed or evolved?
- Is there another character or social situation that changes the way Character A and B interact with each other?
- Does Character A have any reason to distrust Character B, and vice versa?
#2 Let’s get to know how your characters feel about each other… How they really feel about each other. Pick one character (Character A) to answer the following questions about another character (Character B). (Similar to an interview.)
- If you and Character B were stranded on an island how would they help you survive?
- What mood best describes Character B? (See mood emoticons for help)
- How does Character B’s mood effect/affect you?
- What do you think drives Character B to get up, and live out each day?
- Do you feel the need to help/save Character B, or do you think Character B will help/save you in some way? Why?
- If Character B’s life were in jeopardy, to what extreme would you go to to help him/her?
- Can you depend on Character B? Explain?
#3 This third exercise is all thanks to Morgan Wylie, and her #LoveWriteCreate Challenge. Another way to get to know your character is to condense a description of them into 140 characters. Yes, you read that right! Choose what’s most important about your characters, and try to get it all into a tweet!
Here’s an example…
Ollie=nerdy, athletic girl pulled in every direction, including down. Her adventurous descent will save us all or end her. #LWCchallenge