Monday, May 14, 2012

Building Your Characters (And plot, too)

Whether you're a plotter or pantster, at some point you have to create story people to do all the cool stuff you have planned in your novel. I've created a list of questions to ask yourself when working up characters. You can either do this before writing, or on the fly. I think you'll find it will also generate plot ideas and send your story galloping off in new directions.




Physical Characteristics

Manner of Dress

Political Beliefs

Hobbies (Can you make these relevant to the story?)

Childhood (How does this affect the present story?)

Skills/Talents that are relevant to the story

Religious beliefs (Could this possibly create conflicts within the story?)

What's the catalyst that changes the character's life? (Good stories start with a change or on the cusp of one. Put the character in some sort of trouble)

What does the character want more than anything?

Who is opposing the character?

What's the worst thing that could happen to the character right now?

What happened in the character's past that could affect the story?

Do they have any enemies? Why?

What are the character's flaws/weaknesses? How could someone exploit them?

What does the character value more than anything? What if it were taken away? Threatened?

What's the character's story goal? What happens if the character fails? Make the stakes big if they lose (loss of life, a loved one, emotional ruin, destruction of career, etc.)

Can you "interview" your character to learn more about them?

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