Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Penitent Note and Building Characters

Okay, okay, I know. I haven't posted for a few days. I'm really sorry about that, but upkeeping a daily blog is more work than I thought it would be. I'm still adjusting to my new schedule and starting a new job at the same time.

Enough about me. Let's talk about YOU. Today you and I are going to do a little homework together. I promised you exercises, and exercises you shall have.

I think today's homework will be about...


Characters are one of my favorite aspects of writing. You can meet anyone from anywhere and anywhen you want. Want to have lunch with an Astronaut on the moon? Go for it. Want to wrestle with Ghengis Khan? The mat awaits you. One of the great joys of writing is found in creating and discovering characters.

Coming up with new ideas, however, can be a real chore.

So for your homework tonight you're going to do something a little different. You're going to create a character, but you're not going to start with a name. You're not going to start with race. You're not even going to start with gender. Not location, not clothes, not history, not anything from the standard character "templates" everyone else will give you. You're going to start with...

What the character has in their pockets.

What's that? Am I nuts? Well, there's no "official" word on that yet, but most probably. I am, however, quite serious. Pick a few random objects, the more random and unrelated, the better. For mine, I chose a computer USB cable, an alarm clock, three marbles, and a stick of dynamite. You can use my list if you want, but it's more fun to come up with your own.

Now comes the fun part. Start asking questions. Who in the WORLD would have those kinds of things in their pockets? What would they do with them? What are they wearing? Why would they use those things? Start listing your ideas on paper. Just let them flow. They might seem silly at first, but most of the best ideas do. It's really a good way

It is going to feel pretty strange at first, like crossing your arms the wrong way. I think you'll find though, if you give it a good try, that you will create a character unlike anything you've ever made before. Besides, don't you deserve to have a little fun with your imagination every once in a while?

No comments: