"Your characters should literally change the world, especially the one you created."
Know the point of your book and who is your reader.
Once you know that - everything should support and not detract from that purpose and readership
Ask yourself "What am I trying to do here?"
ESSENSE OF CHARACTERS
- Figure out the facts of your character - age, gender, social status, marital status, where do they live.
- Know their Internal qualities - personality traits, ethics, values, morals, self awareness. Look for qualities that can be contradictory to cause conflict.
- Create external qualities - appearance, descriptions, how they see the world or other people. If you use first person - know what she sees in others. manner of speaking (mannerisms), set your character apart with a few characteristics (nose tapping, rub hair across lips when they think). Watch people around you.
- History or backstory - you need to know it even if you don't tell or show it. Only use the things that are relevant to the story. (is if it is a book about competitive nature, tell us her volleyball scores etc). You need to know backstory between characters too. If she has a best friend - how long, why, how are they together.
- Desire - what a character wants. create double desire - a conflict between two wants where they have to choose one over the other. which one is more important and what is the consequence of going against the other one.
- Attitude/Energy - how do they relate to others, life, a situation, death, fights etc. are they an optimist or pessimist? Try journaling as the character to find voice. Must balance + and - energy -For example: the pessimist girl who is funny. The optimist who is annoying. Create a story conversation - a) what is said, b) what is unsaid, c) what can't be said.
- Action - Desire plus attitude. if a character has a desire there must be follow through that is relevant to book. plunk character down in different situations in your mind to decide what they would DO in that situation. Lack of action from a protagonist is one of the top 10 reason why she rejects manuscripts. either its impossible to accomplish or she wont do anything. There must be a reason for inaction.
3 questions to answer:
1) what keeps him alive?
2) what is his pain?
3) what is his name?
Every character is a hero in their own story.
Secondary characters must not be over played. They must be relevant to the story and plot. If there is not a need - don't use them.
most important elements are - honesty (must be honest with what happens) and time (must be the proper pacing)
let characters words and actions speak for themselves. Try not to stop them. Wind your characters up and let them go. You are not your characters' mother. You are their observer. Allow them to make mistakes and suffer the appropriate consequence.
Cheryl loves characters that make mistakes and show pain.
Activity - character outlines
- boy or girl
- Male of female
- what is the family like?
- where do they live?
- what is their name?
- what are the internal qualities? external?
- what keeps him alive?
- How are they emotionally interesting?
- what is their pain?
- what do they want?
- what is their attitude?
- make characters new
- give character a cause
- take action and show energy
- put them in anticipated pain
- surround with unlikeable characters
- be able to feel with and kill your character at any moment. don't get too attached so that you hold them back.
Caroline Cooney - write at full speed
writing activity - write without thinking.
- use pen and paper - not computer. because you always have 10 minutes somewhere
- fill out the character outline above....
- write a line about setting
- write a sentence about character
- bring in another character
- bring in conflict
- change their location
- what do they see?
- write first sentence to 2nd chapter.
- Everyone can write a page a day
- next day - reread what you wrote
- write while you are in car waiting
- answer who, what , where , when and why at everything to dig deeper into story
- every sentence should give you another one