I’ve just sat down to do a couple hours work on the next novella story for my Romance Set in Paradise series, I started to think a lot about character development (as I normally do) as I’m creating a scene that’s unfamiliar to me. On top of that my main character is in a situation also unfamiliar to me. In order to do this scene and story justice, other than research, one thing I have learned while creating unfamiliar or difficult scenes is it’s helpful to react to things as your character would rather than yourself. In order to do this you need a detailed character profile. (In my humble view).
When I wrote A Stranger in France, all 90,000 words were mapped out across chapters and character profiles, it helped A LOT especially as the characters are so far removed from me. I also wrote from a male POV – two very different males! So I had to keep in line with what my character’s traits are rather than me a thirty four year old woman. The benefits of a character profile I can not stress enough to every aspiring or even established writer out there. Here’s my take on this and why I’d say use them, don’t write blindly…. even if Stephen King does it!
- You’ll be consistent and save yourself a hell of a lot of headache while editing, you’ll have less red pen marks on your work from your editor saying ” you said x on page 57 now you say y on page 78″ LOL.
- Your stories will pop and so will your characters.
- You’ll write in an unbiased way, as your characters react to things based on who THEY ARE not who you are.
- Character profiles can help move your story in a new and exciting direction!
- You’ll suffer less so called “writer’s block”.
So how do you go about developing a character profile? Here’s how I approach it as a tip generally you could….
- First see them as real 3D people. How they look, sound, smell, dress, talk. This helps to enhance your writing. ( I feel) and the reader’s experience.
- Interview them. Where do they live, car they drive, hobbies, interests, their general take on life?
- What is their overall goal in your story? What do they need to make sure happens to achieve it? What will happen if they don’t achieve their goal? What’s at stake?
- Take into consideration your genre and story length. I say this as you don’t want to take up all your words on too much of this if you’re writing a short story- a short story to me is like 30k words, to others this can be as little as 10k…. If you’re crafting a full blown novel over 40k words then by all means really work on your character’s profile and make them pop. With genre, I’m all about the suspense! 🙂 this is where my talent is, so to make the suspense come across character development helps within my genre, as I am SHOWING readers things via the moments of my characters rather than TELLING. Some genres don’t need this much work on characters to create the atmosphere of the genre.
And that’s my reflection on creating difficult scenes, and how to make your characters come across as some what believable! If you’re a writer what approach do you take? Do you even agree that character profiles are useful and important?
I better get back to work on my character profile and try to finish up this scene. In the mean time, drop me a comment writers what’s your view?