Writing Tips – Who ARE they?

planningSo you have your entire novel planned for camp NaNoWriMo, down to each inciting incident and plot climax. Nothing to do now but wait until April to write the thing, right?

Not quite. 

Character development is something that is hugely important when writing, something many writers overlook.

I have a question for you:

How well do you know your character?

Hell_are_you

There are many ways to get to know your character, and there are a plethora of sites available with character questionnaires for you to fill out about all sorts of details about them.

However, this is just backbone information. You could answer those questions with details about anyone, and still not truly know them.

character faultsHow do you get to the stage so many novelists talk about, where their characters are so real to them, they argue with them in their heads?

Now, I don’t claim to be anywhere near that stage, but here are some pretty cool and different ways to get to know your leading lady or man better than you thought possible.

Try putting your character in different situations, for example, here is a question asked by a friend of mine.

 

Your MC was just challenged to a DANCE OFF by the antagonist. What signature move do they bust out?

Think about it, really have a think. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a fantasy, horror, romance, or even if your MC is a robot! Just give it a shot! Post in the comments if you will!

Another method, put forward by the same friend, are word wars with writing prompts that are specifically designed to see how your character would react.
Word wars are where you challenge someone to write as much as they can in a certain length of time, and you see who ‘wins’.
You don’t necessarily need someone else with you on this, you can go it alone. However the competition is a great motivation!

Some examples if you want to give it a shot: (all credit goes to my friend!)

starrs

  • Write about your character looking at the stars.
  • Start with the sentence, “Her laugh broke the silence.”
  • A side character gets locked in a room (shed/basement/bathroom/whatever)
  • Write about your character trying a new food for the first time and either loving or loathing it.

 

There are so many prompts available online, if you want to try it out just have a look around.

My personal favourite way of getting to know my characters, is inserting them into random stories. There are a few ways to do this, and the way I favour is entering a roleplay.

A roleplay is basically a story you write with any number of different people. The setting is pre-decided, and depending on the specific roleplay, there could be an overlying plot or it could be just completely open. There are sites dedicated to roleplaying all over the internet, and differ in genre etc.

reactThe beauty of a roleplay is this: you can control your character, but no one else’s. Each person posts their character’s thoughts and actions, but you have no idea how that guy your female MC just hit on is going to react. That makes you then consider, how will she react to the rejection that, if it were up to you, she would not have faced?

If this does not interest you, you can always just write a completely random short story, unrelated to your planned manuscript, with your character wading through random events. This allows you again to gauge their reactions to different situations.

I hope this helps if you are struggling with your characters, or is just a handy tip for you! You’ll soon be having your characters talking to you in your head in no time!

Thanks for reading and I would love to hear your character developments!

campnano

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