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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What A Character

Everything I write is very character-driven. The more I know my characters, the more attached I get to them. The more attached I get to them, the more I want to write their story. There are times, though, when I’m working on a story and I find that I’m just not in love with my main character yet. That’s when I know that this character I’ve created is just not that fully formed.


If you’re facing this challenge, consider these questions and try to answer them so you can get better acquainted with your character and fall so deeply in love with them, that you just need to write about them.


What is your character’s gender?

Ethnicity?

Hairstyle?

Eye color?

Complexion?

Weight/body shape?

Emotional level?

Occupation?

Income?

Location?

Marital status?

Best childhood memory? Worst childhood memory?

Family life?

Biggest goal/desire?

Biggest obstacle that challenges character from attaining goal?

Best friend?

Worst enemy?

Favorite comfort food?

Vices?

How would your character act on a romantic date?

What is your character like in a romantic relationship?

What kind of friend is your character?

What does your character hate about themselves? What does your character love about themselves?


It also helps me to think about my favorite characters and jot down why I like them so much. Here are four of the most memorable characters I’ve read about.


Flavia de Luce from Alan Bradley’s The Flavia de Luce Series
In this detective fiction series, eleven-year-old Flavia is courageous, sharp, hilarious, and an aspiring chemist. I laughed out loud several times reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. She outsmarts everyone—from her older sisters to her kidnapper, Flavia takes intelligence to a whole new level.


Jane Eyre from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels. What I love and admire most about Jane is that regardless of her difficult past and her suffering, she is never portrayed as a damsel in distress.


Alice from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Although Alice displays a superior attitude considering her wealthy upbringing and social class in the Victoria era, her curiosity highly appeals to me. Her logic often clashes with the madness she finds in Wonderland, so the identity journey she goes through is also one that a reader can easily connect to, regardless of the novel’s fantastical setting.


The Little Prince from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince

The little prince is an extremely noble character of high caliber. What I love most about him is his child-like character that can clearly see the flaws and weaknesses of adults.

2 comments:

Isa Cunanan said...

Put so well, re: falling in love with characters and using this to know whether or not they're fully formed... Wow!

Lorna London said...

Thanks for your comment, Isa! That's essentially how I go about it...I have to fall in love with my character before I can write their story.