Natalie Whipple has a great post on character development on her blog. I gleaned a useful tool for fleshing out my characters from it. Natalie suggests asking your characters the following question:
What do you care about most in the world?
This doesn't need to be one thing, in fact I've already found the more things your character tells you they care about the better.
Like Natalie, I flesh out my characters as I go. I don't use an "Interview Sheet" like some writers do to get to know their characters or any other device other than simply writing. But, this one, simple question I found to be extremely helpful.
Here's a sample of what some of my characters told me matters to them:
MC: Family, boyfriend, everybody getting along.
MC's Boyfriend: Sports, family, girlfriend, sex.
MC's Best Friend (BF): Family, boyfriend, being thin, being MC's BFF, getting good grades.
MC's Other BF: Being popular, looking good, MC's boyfriend (uh-oh!), family, friends.
MC's Male BF: Protecting MC, humor, his sexuality, people playing by "the rules."
MC's Ex Boyfriend: Being in control, getting drunk, sports, bugging the crap out of people, family (ha!).
These things didn't surprise me, but it was helpful to have them clarified. I feel closer to my characters now; more sure of their behaviors.
Give it a try and let me know what you think. What tricks of the trade do you use to help you get to know your characters better? Do the "real" people in your life think you're crazy for "talking" to the slightly "less than real" people in your life?
IN OTHER NEWS:
Blog Bling! Ca-Ching, Ca-Ching!
Thanks to Lisa Desrochers and Julie Nelson for a couple of awesome awards. Since I'm deep into edits now, I'm going to pass on the "proper" way of doling out these awards, however, if you feel like one (or both!) of these awards calls to you, please take it/them with my best wishes and refer to Lisa and Julie's blogs for the "proper" way to forward them along. I'd hand them out to all of my followers if I could, but I'd have to give up my writing career in order to do that. (Very time consuming!)
So, here they are. (Drum roll, please!)
From Lisa Desrochers from Personal Demons, the HONEST SCRAP award! WOOHOO!! I'm supposed to tell you something honest about myself that you may not know, so here goes...
I realize I may lose some followers for this true confession, but... I don't like coffee. I don't even like the smell of coffee. There, I said it. I know, it's shocking but true. Please try to forgive me and remember we're each separate yet special snowflakes, and this particular snowflake hates coffee. (This snowflake does, however, love Starbucks chai tea latte w/cinnamon & chocolate!)
Next up is the FROM ME TO YOU BOUQUET from Julie Nelson of Literary Jules fame. For this award, I must tell you something you probably don't know about me.
Okay, for those of you who are left after learning I'm a coffee-hating freak and fell for that whole snowflake thing, here's a juicy little tidbit: My grandmother's first cousin, Isidor Isaac Rabi, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1944. Them there are some smart genes in my family! I know you're thinking exactly what I'm thinking: too bad they skipped me!
So, there you have it. Character Development, a Scrap of Honesty, a Beautiful Bouquet, and a Nobel Peace Prize all in one post. Wow!