Know Your Character

As I’ve said before, I’m working on my own personal project at the moment.

I’ve been thinking about this story for almost 4 years now, the characters, the milieu and the main plot. I’ve done well in writing, coming up to about 25,000 words in 3 weeks when quite suddenly, I hit a standstill. I reread some of my chapters and realized that the character had responded all wrong. Also, it had pushed an interaction with another character that I didn’t want, and cut out the importance of the character that I actually needed the main role to be.

This was all very well and exciting at first but then I realized the reason this had happened was because I didn’t have the character act in the situation as she rightfully should’ve. I went out of character and had her become something her set (and needed) personality wouldn’t allow. This was why I got stuck.

Couple of months ago (ee gad, more than a year), I spoke about how it is very important to make sure that your character isn’t a Mary-Sue and I’d like to expand on that idea by saying that you have to make sure who your character is. This week, I read a post from Kim Harrison which briefly mentioned the myers/briggs personality test and, on impulse, I went and googled it.

It’s opened up a whole new world of character development for me and, as I had submitted my characters to the Mary-Sue test, I’m now going to submit them all to this test I found on the web so that I can correctly judge their course of action and behavior. (I took it myself and the result was very interesting!)

The thing is that the best stories’ characters are believable and I think that my most disappointing moments in books happened when a character did something which I felt was completely (and I mean completely) out of character. It crushes the reader and makes it less believable.

And to me, writing a story that is believable – with real emotions and responses, is the most important focus.

So, I’d suggest that you take these tests and spend some time developing not only your main characters, but your side characters as well and try to understand how they would interact with each other.

So far, it’s working for me.

 

Advertisements