From your Character’s Point of View

Imagine a character that you would like to write about. Before you include him in the story, take time to write a character study from his point of view.

You must use first person. You can begin anywhere and you do not have to proceed sequentially. Consider it more of a stream of conscious rambling.

Somewhere in the text tell something about his appearance, but do not give a list of features. Mention one or two, just a little something to help us see him as he sees himself.

Put us inside his mind. We want to know what he thinks about things. Consider politics, employment, housing, future goals, but don’t try to cover everything. Only hit the most salient points, those that help you develop him so that including him in a story becomes easier.

Your task is to write at least a page of text. When you reread, ask yourself how much you revealed about him and whether or not there are more things that should be included as well as what should be deleted.

Have fun with this one.

Work Habits

Are you a morning person or a night person? Is your mind sharpest when you wake up or is it sluggish until you’ve downed several cups of coffee?

In the evening do you get revved up and motivated or do you grind to a halt and collapse into your recliner until time for bed?

Just as we all have our best working moments, so do our characters.

Your task is multi-fold.

First make a list of a variety of characters spanning ages, cultures, beliefs and desires. Label them appropriately.

Spend some time thinking about each of them. What are they like? Are they ambitious or content? Do they seek adventure or prefer the steady drum of life?

Add to your description of each character you have created.

Once you have explored their personalities, now take time to decide if, according to the characteristics you have chosen, that person functions best in the morning or in the evening.

Be true to the individual.

Once you are finished, go over your profiles. Are all the details logical? Do you see a character’s potential? Can you insert the character in a story?

Have fun with this one.

 

 

 

Clothing Styles

It might not seem like a big deal, but how your characters dress truly is!

Imagine punk rockers dressed in all black with studded necklaces and high-laced black boots. Now picture characters in fancy dresses and suits.

What do you think of with each?

Having taught the punk rockers, I think of kids who often are on the fringes of high school society. They are good kids, but don’t meld with cheerleaders, jocks or the AP crowd. They might be in college prep classes, but often are the creative types who enjoy their own style of music. Of course all of this is a stereotype and there are exceptions.

The second group reminds me of the upwardly mobile or those who are already in the top 1%. They are more sedate, preferring parties and small gatherings over rock concerts. I see fancy cocktails being carried around by hired staff and delicate appetizers on trays. A sit-down dinner for a hundred. A fund raiser for a politician. Guests arriving in limos and chartered buses. Again, stereotypes.

Do you see how important clothing is? Not only does it set the tone, but it tells us a lot about our characters.

Your task is to make several lists. Divide each by clothing styles. Think of how age influences how a person dresses as well as socioeconomic status.

Choose one of your lists to work with. Write a story for that character in which clothing style is mentioned, but not all in one or two sentences. Scatter the descriptions about so that your character’s personality is slowly revealed.

This won’t be easy, but have fun with this one.

The Home Front

Your character has to live somewhere, and that place needs to be reflected in the things that your character does.

For example, if the protagonist lives in a homeless camp, then life centers on food, shelter and feeling safe, especially at night. Cleanliness is an issue as well as finding resources to help with clothes, laundry and food.

Let’s say the protagonist is a princess who lives in a castle. That’s a completely different sort of issue. How the princess treats and interacts with employees tells us whether or not she is arrogant and sees them as a subservient class. Since she doesn’t have to worry about basics, what she does do becomes a part of who she is.

If your character is a spy, then she is constantly on the move. She might not have an apartment somewhere, instead living in one hotel after another. What kinds of hotels? Cheap or deluxe? The type controls amenities and safety.

Your job is to decide where your character lives and then write a scene in that environment.  Bring in secondary characters that would be in that site. Have your character interact with them, keeping in mind what you want us to know about how he treats others.

Make the scene substantial enough that the reader gets a feel for your character’s personality. Include dialogue, body posture and looks.

Reread. Does your character’s personality come through? If not, then what changes should you make?

Have fun with this one.