Friday, July 18, 2014

How well do you know your character

I know I've done a very similar post before, but that was quite a while ago, back when we were a very tiny blog. Now we're a tiny bit bigger, so I'll do it again.

How do you get to know your characters? Do you have a folder full of interview questions, or maybe you date your characters like Rachel Coker does.

But I like obstacle courses. I like to take my characters and put them in situations that aren't necessarily in the book, but will give me more of an idea of how they would act at different events. Of course first you need to have at least a basic knowledge of your character's background history. I like to do one for every big scene.
(Note: The obstacle course should be close to your original scene)

You can also do almost prologue scenes. It's a helpful way to know how your characters felt at an important moment that will effect them throughout the book. This is the kind I'll use in the example.

I'll use my latest MC this time.

Basic info:
Name: Bella
Age: 15
Living in: The Colorado mountains
Parents: Mother died, father left
Guardian: Aunt Renee
Siblings: Three brothers, Liam, Jackson, Preston
Faith: Christian

You might want to gather a little more information than that, but this is all I'll use for the example.

Bella snuggled under her covers. She could see the sun just peek his yellow head over the distant horizon. She wondered if her mommy could see it from Heaven.

Bella heard a slam of the gate out front. She jumped from the bed. Daddy wasn't supposed to leave for work for another hour. Maybe he had another headache like he often did in the mornings after Mommy's death and was just heading to the lilac bushes to sooth it. Although she hadn't heard him leave at all last night.

She threw on an old sweatshirt and ran out the front door. The truck was just being started up.

"Daddy wait! You didn't give me my goodbye kiss yet!" Bella ran as fast as her legs could carry her. But her father was already out on the road driving away.

"Dad!" Her big brother Liam raced past her trying to catch the old Ford. "Dad wait! Don't leave. Please!" Liam collapsed on the grass when he realized he couldn't catch him.

"Liam, why is Daddy leaving so early? He didn't kiss me goodbye either." Tears were building in Bella's eyes.

Liam handed her a rumpled note that he had been carrying.
I can't take care of you anymore, I can barely take care of myself. I've been out of a job for months now. Call your Aunt Renee, she'll care for you much better than I did. Liam take good care of your siblings.

Tears streamed down Bella's cheeks. "Why doesn't he love us anymore?"

Liam got up and hugged Bella. "He does, he just doesn't know it," he whispered.

That beautiful, warm sunrise, was now the worst one that would stay in Bella's memory.

Wow. I could have kept writing that scene forever. ;)

So now when I write more scenes I can keep her reaction to this in mind, and it will help me write her so that she is consistent. :)

What methods do you use for getting to know your characters? What do you think of the obstacle course?

Brookie :)

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