Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Trudging Through the Characters

Yesterday, I was in a discussion about plotting novels. One of the things that came up was character generation / concepts. As we all know, having a rich, deep, realistic character that intrigues us as readers is the mechanism that carries us through any story.

Last year, I had the opportunity to go through some workshops and came away with the below 'worksheet' for character creation. The idea behind the below checklist is that you do one step each day, giving yourself time to sleep on the next step (to give it a chance to really set in). I tend to run with the inspiration and knock out multiple steps each day, out of fear of losing important elements.

The down side to the below 'worksheet' is that it is dry and mechanical. The up side is that dry and mechanical inspires the brain to want to escape; allowing for some really creative thoughts to creep up. Use it and let the inspiration blossom!

-- Character Build Period --

Day:    Task:

1.      Character Core: Write 5 (single) sentences about Life Aspects of his / her life.


2.      Each Life Aspects: For each (of five) life aspects, do two things:

A.    Write in 2 Life Experiences.

B.     Write 1 Thought, with 3+ (single) Thought Aspects.

3.      Spin Life Aspects: For each Life Aspect denote one Problem Aspect.

4.      Expand Problem Aspects: For each of the Problem Aspects:

A.    Write in 2 Problem Experiences.

B.     Write 1 Thought, with 3+ (single) Thought Aspects.

5.      Second Character Core: Repeat steps 1 – 4 today for this one.

6.      (Goals) Character 1 and 2: Determine (simultaneously) personal goals.

A.    1 Long-Term goal (for each character).

B.     2 Short-Term goals (for each character).

7.      (Fears) Character 1 and 2: Each of the above goals will have fears and / or obstacles.

8.      Third Character: Now is the time to think in triads. Each of the three characters will conspire from time to time. Ultimately, one character will ascend, one character will stagnate, and one character will fall / fail.

A.    Repeat steps 1-4.

B.     Repeat step 6.

C.     Repeat step 7.

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