Friday, November 11, 2011

Building A Writer's Character; 25 Tips, Prompts and Warnings

Below are 25 ideas around building a better character from my forthcoming book, “Write Advice II; More inspirations, tips and thoughts specifically for writers


Let me know your favorites.


1. If you know every characters’ internal and external motivation before you start writing, you’ll be less surprised by their actions. 
2. Give your protagonist a nervous tick or habit that reveals their character. Make them fold a napkin, slurp a straw, twirl their hair, check their phone incessantly.
3. To find fictional names, open up a magazine and scan the masthead of editors and contributors, then combine the first or last name with a noun. 
4. Often the best villains are the ones that practically mirror the main character except in one or two areas.
5. Are your characters developing? 
6. If your antagonist showed up in an art gallery what pieces would they gravitate to and how long would they stay?  
7. How would you feel if you were in a cafe and you learned another writer was looking at you, getting inspiration for their villain? 
8. What trait do you personally have that would serve your antagonist well?
9. What would happen if you changed the sex of every character in your story and started over? Would your characters be the same if you changed their race, or age? If not, you might not have enough life in them yet. If you change those identities, your characters should change. If they don't, you’ve got some more work to do. 
10. What would your story's antagonist blog about?
11. Put your characters in conflict. Make them uncomfortable and write them out of a predicament.
12. What would happen if one of your created characters tweeted you?
13. Pick up on a random conversation at a cafe and then imagine the backstory or create a new one.
14. Characters that have at least one thing that others admire about them, and one thing that makes them an ass, gives them realism.  
15. Run your characters through something like a Facebook 20 questions and see what they would answer. 
16. Sit your characters in front of Google. What would they do?
17. Would you like to have dinner with your character, or are you worried that they may think you're too boring? Would they pick up the tab? 
18. What’s an interesting and potentially awkward dinner topic to have with the characters you create?
19. Be careful of developing crushes on your characters, they don't love you nearly as much. 
20. Interview your fictional character. 
21. Open Cosmo or whatever they would read and have them take one of the quizzes.
22. Do you know if your characters are left or right handed or are you just assuming? 
23. Insult your characters and pick a fight with them. See what they do.
24. Your characters will tell you when the words don't feel right. Until then, let them talk. 
25. Give your villains something to love and your heros something to hate.   


Look for more in Karl Bimshas’s forthcoming book, 
“Write Advice II; More inspirations, tips and thoughts specifically for writers”


Can't wait? Click Here for the Original