Friday, 10 November 2017
NaNoWriMo: Day 10 ~ Flushing Out Characters
But I woke up this morning thinking about my characters. Kind of. What I realized is that I don't really know my characters yet—how can I when I'm focussed on WORDS vs planning. (I know, I should have tackled this before NaNoWriMo started, but...Halloween <grin>) I thought maybe some of you are struggling with character descriptions too—so I thought I'd share my character template. Here are the questions I have to answer for each main (and some supporting) characters:
Nickname and how he/she got it: For example, my nickname is Superman because I run fast—especially around the canola field on my grandparents' farm.
Family: Here, I include names of parents, as well as names and ages of any siblings.
Describe character in one sentence: You can include a physical description here (i.e.: colour of hair, height, etc) but you can also talk about your character's personality. Like, for my sister Amelia, I might say: Amelia is a precocious 6-year-old girl with a weird fascination with insects—she thinks she's an entomologist.
What is my character's favourite word? Catch phrases can tell a lot about a character. For my current story, one of my character's favourite words is BOOm! (He's a ghost and his expression BOOm! comes out when he thinks he's made a point. Ie: And just like that, I've proven that ghosts aren't scary. BOOm!
What makes my character happy? Take Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Chewing gum makes her happy...well, until it doesn't. <grin>
What super power would my character wish for and how would he/she use it? Obviously, I'd wish for super speed—so I could beat my arch nemesis on the track in every race. I bet Gordon "Lightning" Smith would wish for the same.
What was my character doing before the story started? You don't have to spend too much time here, but I find that taking the character back to the day, week, or even hour before the story starts helps you to understand WHERE the story starts—and what the catalyst for the story is.
Obviously I'm just scratching the surface here, but the questions are meant to spark your imagination. Remember, characters should be unique, have both strengths and weaknesses, and be three dimensional—no cardboard cut-outs!
Gotta jet! I'm hunkering down for a weekend of writing and reading. But don't worry, I'll be keeping up my NaNoWriMo posts! May the words be with you...
~ Chase Superman Duffy