Monday, July 8, 2013

The Key To Characterization

It's no secret that characters make the story. More then that, characters are the story. You can have the crappiest plot ever to exist in all recorded history of man, machine, and strange celestial celery, and it can still come out a half-way decent book if you have good characters. Likewise, you could have the most ingenious plot that creation ever beheld yet it could still turn to doo-doo should you have flat characters. Yes, characters will make or break a story, be sure of that.

But how does one create well-rounded characters?

I've got the answer, but we're going have to do a little exercise first. First, I'm going to need you, the reader, to stand up. You standing? Great. Now I'm going to start hopping on one foot while I throw these-Wait, this doesn't seem right. Give me a sec...

~*ruffles through some papers*`~

Sorry, notes for something else.

Like I was saying, I know what the key to characterization is. The starting point, the core if you will. Just sit down and think to yourself, what does my character care about? If this is done correctly, your character should start creating his/her self.


I'm in my forth draft for my main project right now, Scrapper The Connection Reborn, and for the past three drafts something's been off with the main character, Scrapper. See, the character came out loud and clear, make no mistake of that, but it didn't feel like her character. So when I was reading over the third draft I stripped down every little nuisance in her overall personality when I realized that the thing that was wrong was her motivation. For the first three drafts, the major decisions she made were centered around one factor, the leading man Zane. However, when looking at who she is I realized that she wouldn't fall so hard so fast for one guy, no matter how nice he was. So I had to adjust her motivation for her decisions accordingly, leading to an entirely different chain of events that brought her to the end of the book. Long story short I had to ask myself, what does Scrapper care about? And, much to my dismay, it wasn't Zane.

So what does your character care about? Here's a chain that might help show how a character can grow from that one little facet.

Notice how as we dive deeper and deeper into Billy's motivation we uncover not only elements of the plot but also little quirks in his personality. Yes, it really can be that easy. 

That's all I have for you Monkeys this week. I think it's about time I stop stalling and get back to that forth draft of mine. 

Stats Of The Week
Song:  Up and Up by Relient K
Book: Psych's Guide to Crime Fighting For The Totally Unqualified
Word: Celestial
Quote:  "It's a well known fact that people with mustaches can't be trusted."
Shawn Spencer