During my workshop of fabulousness earlier this month, I learned a lot about plotting. Part of plotting your story requires important character development work, which I have found to be an enlightening experience. It has forced me to look deeper at how my characters work, uncover the layers of their lives, and see how they work together in their world.
|Inside the Pilgrim Monument in P-Town. I climbed all the way to the top.|
One of the questions we were prompted to ask was simple enough: What does your character want?
Straight forward, right? I don’t think so anymore.
As I was answering this question for my characters I realized I really only knew (or thought about) what they wanted as it related to the resolution of the problem that happened in my story. That isn’t enough. In order to create a character with layers and depth, you need to know what they wanted before the story started -you need to zero in on their core wants and needs in their everyday life.
What were they striving for before the dragon appeared and stole their magic wand? What were they thinking about and dreaming of in the moments before the car crash that changed things forever? How will the events of your story affect them and their plans to achieve their goals and realize their desires?
In doing these exercises in character development with each of my characters, I have found so much more just beneath the surface of my characters’ veneer.
Have you done character sketches? What do you do to build a fuller character for your stories?