I hope you had a great half term holiday -some while ago now though. If you were allowed to go anywhere, and could afford to, of course make the most of what you can, when you can. Just seeing the sea the other day lifted all our spirits. Plus we had a few days away. I can’t tell you how great that was.
I wrote in an earlier blog to check out the personalities of your characters and perhaps use Winnie the Pooh as an example. Like the Bouncy Tigger that in theory could get on your nerves but on the other hand make you laugh. Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! Then there is the polar opposite. I feel I want to fall asleep the moment Eyore comes along and dear little Piglet, well. Little Women is equally fantastic in personality traits and characters. I bet you’ve read it. All the girls are so very different, and lend a quality and variety to the storyline.
So to our stories. I find the people we write about are often are a mishmash of people we’ve met along the way. Perhaps they are those you have observed on holiday, or have seen around for years but only viewed at a distance. Then there are work colleagues, close family and friends and those who have inspired you, or those you admire.
Today, the inner person is the subject. His or her or ze, as apparently is the new word for non-gender specific! What makes them tick?
Whatever character you use in your story you need to know well. Well enough that if someone were to give you a drilling about them you could confidently say, “yup, he has beer in his fridge – providing his girlfriend has filled the fridge up!” Tells you a tad about his personality. However, just be aware you don’t need to add everything – its just knowing what makes them tick will be enough. The list I am about to provide, doesn’t mean when you write your story it has to include the minutiae, but if you know your character, what it should do, is make your character credible and memorable. They might have specific traits, and useful to use over a few times to compound this. It’s rare a leopard changes his spots. So, Charlie will pick his nose and Rose will always check her skirt isn’t hitched into her knickers after going to the loo, because of THAT embarrassing incident.
The list below is not exclusive, and it’s just something that gives a kick-start to the information you may need:
Do you know your character’s full name. First ask yourself is it important. It might be if they are sometime down the road going to be questioned by the police or get married for example.
Do they have a nickname? Why? How did it come about? Can be used in discussion anytime when asked by another character. A name shortened can be funny or at times cruel and can conjure up all sorts of memories.
When and where were they born?
Do they look their age they are meant to be? How do they dress – outrageous, reserved?
What do they look like – weight, skin, distinguishing features, healthy, sickly, small, tall, limp, wheelchair. Jo-Jo Moyes is great at a variety of characters. She always impresses me with her diversity. Anyway, I’m sure you get the picture. Just one little tip – I put in a moustache on my bloke mid way through the book and realised I hadn’t seen him like that before and took it out. Often the reader will make up their own mind by the way they are portrayed. I found when I’ve watched a film the character NEVER seems to be exactly as I imagined. Do you get that? Now on with the list.
Job, career, profession, redundant, retired, lazy – or simply out on luck at the moment?
What is their dream job – are they being unrealistic, do they have the skills / qualifications?
Birthplace – or where do they live right now? Are they happy about that?
Single, married, divorced, children. Family of fifteen siblings or no family at all. All of these things pose questions.
Who, What, Why, Where, When, How.
Finally back to the guy. Who does or does not have beer in the fridge.
“Jane, that you?” He could hardly drag his eyes off the TV. She arrived sweating, worn out, the sun was blaring in through the front window adding more heat the already hot day. “The lift was out of order love.” Breathing heavily, about to have a heart attack she dropped the carrier bags in the doorway.
“Yeah? What a shame. Means you might lose some of that blubber! Now, get me a beer, I’m dying of thirst!”
Nice. Love him. Don’t you?
Well that’s it for now. Take care. Hope this helps.