Thursday, 16 June 2011

Character Analysis...

I've been making progress with my new approach to my characters- writing a character fact sheet for each one. I've always done a character sheet, but not in such an organised way.

Now I've yet to apply it to a short story-but I will.

So far I've been concentrating on my novella. I was a bit concerned that I had a more detailed analysis of my hero, than the heroine who is the main point of view.
So I'm going to have to sit her down and probe her secrets.

If you're having difficulties with a character it is useful to sit them down and interview them- imagine you are sat across the table from each other with a glass of wine, or whatever your character likes to drink, then just start a conversation.

A writer friend suggested this to me many years ago and if I ever have someone in my novel who is reluctant to reveal something, I've found it is a useful strategy.

Of course it might not work for everyone, so what other sources are there?

If you just want a quick reference have a look at '45 Master Characters' by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. It's the type of book you either like or hate; find useful for generating ideas about your characters or feel they can be stereotyped- it just depends upon your own level of ability.

Writers' blogs are also great sources of advice so look through the lists of blogs others follow. You will find some gems to refer back to.

But as we're talking about character here, have a look at Kate Kyle's Gone Writing blog, especially her post from February, 'How to build believable characters'.

By the way, if you intend to try the interview technique mentioned above, just don't do it (aloud) if anyone else is around- specifically a non-writer... :-)


Rosemary Gemmell said...

I've heard others do that too, Carol - I've never tried it as I'm not that organised! Mainly because I'm such a panster - I have to get to know my characters as I write. Great the way we all work in different ways.

Carolb said...

I was previously like you Rosemary, I got to know my character as I went along, but I discovered that the interview technique brought out ideas/motivations that were lurking in the depths of the individual character, and they frequently made sense of ideas I'd been considering for the story.

Alison Fews said...

Interesting, and certainly something that I have tried before, but for me, the interview process merely produces flat people. Far easier, in my view, to watch them develop all by themselves as you hurl them into different situations and see how they cope!