I’ve been talking about characters quite a bit as of late because really they are what make your story. Think about it: okay world + great characters = amazing book; terrible characters + amazing world = a DNF (did not finish) book, because there was nothing to pull your reader through. (not gonna lie, that’s what happened to me with Dune, but I do still love Dune by Frank Herbert, but you’ve got to admit if you’ve read it, it’s a thick book to get through)
Characters are the salt. They are what blends everything together. So if anything, make sure your character is like I’ve talked about before, ‘specific’ using the queen of gothic literature, Flannery O’Connor’s words. They need to be specific because characters are people, just made out of ink. They are specific; there are particular things about them that make their brain tick in a specific way. And as much as I would love it if we could just in our minds have a conversation with them and then be like, yup, got it, let’s get writing, you need to at least sketch out who your character is. I wrote an article about the elevator test that Pixar in a Box outlines, but this is taking it one step further for your story grimoire as I like to call it because in medieval times grimoires were full of how to make magical artifacts and all the things you’ve compiled in a manual as well, I could argue its magical. It’s that document that just has the randomest pieces of your story overflowing out of it, hopefully you have it organized (and if not this is a reminder that it will make your life so much easier if you organize it)
Since I have an addiction to making templates and questionnaires, I’m getting help I promise, but it works out in your favor because I’m helping you, I’m going to share with you the questions that you need to know about your character, that isn’t your standard copy and paste sheet from pinterest. As always I work in a Frankenstein manner, I take the best part and leave the rest to rot because realistically not every piece of advice you will ever receive will be good or useful in a given situation, so we must learn to glean.
I like to pinpoint my character’s Skin, Heart, Soul, Mind and World. I really want to make a cool acronym, but I’ve got no vowel to work with, so trying, I think, is a bad idea.