Day #25 of NaNoWriMo – Developing Character
Thanksgiving is only a few days away and my turkey is still thawing. I hope it’s defrosted in time. I relate cooking to writing. We put the right ingredients together, we have to have the right temperatures, and we have to let the food come together.
When we develop our protagonist or main character, we need to create a recipe card for them. What are their main personality traits? Do they start out strong, or maybe weak in order to find their strength? Colors of clothing, hairstyles, and shoes all need to be on the card. How do they react to high temperature situations? What happens when the temperature is too cold?
Characters mix with the other ingredients. It’s what gives them flavor, shape, and taste that’s unique to them. The way they talk about the other ingredients and mix with them all help form a picture in the reader’s mind. They way they react to situations and other people can tell the reader what kind of person they are. If their reaction changes as the story moves into other chapters, the reader will know that your protagonist changed.
Ask as you develop – is your final meal edible? Is it savory enough for the reader to want to have the dish again. Is it something they will crave or won’t be able to stop until the end? Why would they want to know your character? Is your character someone they want to be? Someone they wish they could be more like? Or is your protagonist someone they relate to because they are similar?
Your reader may be a mix of ingredients because they are human. Sometimes, they want to be the hero and sometimes they want to be the villain. Let’s be honest, almost all us wish we had that moment where their bully got what they deserved. Your protagonist should go through heartbreak, hardships, and triumphs because this is life. This is what we all experience in our own lives. Yes, we want to entertain and some of us may want to escape to a fantasy world but we all want some connection to the story.
I hope sharing my writing process is helping with your own writing. These are some the same questions that ask about my own protagonist.
I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Writing this week!