Exercise 9: Getting in touch with characters

Hooray, it’s May! Gosh, this year has been weird so far. I hope you’re all doing well out there, or as well as you can given the circumstances.

This month we’re talking about characters. Character development is SO important, I think even more important than plot, because if readers don’t like at least some of your characters they probably won’t care about what they’re doing or what’s happening in their world. You need to know your characters inside and out so you can portray them consistently throughout the course of your novel, and I’m going to try to help you work on that this month.

Today, we’re going simple. If you haven’t noticed yet, I like to start out with basic exercises and build you up to more complicated projects. I think it’s better to do that than to throw a giant, difficult exercise at someone and have them get frustrated and quit before they understand the concept. So here we go. Nice and easy.

Think of your favorite fictional character–you don’t have to use one from literature for this; you could use one from a movie or TV show if you want.

Now get out your pen (or word processor document) and answer a few questions for me. What makes you love them? What do you hate about them? What, if anything, would you do to make them even more appealing? What are their dreams or goals? Their flaws?

Once you have finished answering these questions, try and analyze a character that you’ve created. If you feel like you need to do some work on your character, that’s okay. Stick with me and maybe some of my future posts and exercises will help you build them up. If you’re happy with your creation, that’s excellent. Keep up the good work.

Image credit: Roberto Nickson

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