Friday, 25 October 2013

Do you want to write a novel? Session 3

Do you know them?

After a week without class, we return to the work with the third part of Do you want to write a novel?

This week we will devote entirely to the construction of characters. Characters that you fall in love, you want to keep writing more and more words, page after page. The aim is also, of course, your readers will love too, do that they also want to keep reading the adventures of these little so special people.

As I have said many times, in my case the creation of the characters is one of the most important things. It is precisely these, those characters that appear almost out of nowhere, who push me to write their story. It is a reverse of many writers, I know, but hey, everyone is different and it is important to find your own formula, your own way to feel comfortable when typing.

First of all, let's start by generalizing a bit. Although there are exceptions (like everything in this life), it is usual that your characters are those who bear the weight of history. It can be people or things, a priest or a bar of soap, but generally, the stories we read in books happen to someone or something.

In this way, your characters are a key thing in your novel. Yes, we all know stories in which the character is unimportant and the important thing is the action, and also the opposite, of course. But even in cases in which your characters are just a figure at which things happen, readers must be interested in your characters. Otherwise, if you do not care in the least what happens to them, it is likely to close the book and go do something else.

I constantly fall in love with the characters (of mine and others), but you need not be like me…

Your characters, like everyone, want to get something. There has not to be something great. Not all characters have to want to save humanity or destroy the villain. The ambition of your character can be a shower without her son pounded the door without stopping. Or do not be late for a meeting. Or make macaroni without being sticking to the pan. Or convince this guy so cute to marry with her and not with her cousin who is prettier and richer.

Usually, most of the characters, want to be happy and live in peace. It depends on you, as an author, what your character considers 'happiness'. You know, a shower, a wedding, a cup of hot chocolate ... What seems good to you. You know they are not going to complain...

Typically, your characters suffer (a little or a lot, or too much...) to achieve their goals. If not, we would not have history. If your character is dying for a cup of tea, and get up and do it ... because, well, that's it.  Not much more to tell...

It's different if your character wants a cup of tea and it turns out that does not fit a single bag. He goes home to his neighbor to ask her, but his neighbor just drinks coffee. So going to the corner store to buy a box but, oh wait, it turns out that he has forgotten his wallet at home...

If your character is a more or less real, the normal is somehow react to unforeseen events. Your characters are (usually) human, and as such have feelings. They get angry, get overwhelmed, laugh, cry ... Are their reactions that we are going to show what he's made of your character, and that, in turn, will allow us to go take shape history.

For example, if the character you want tea, not the same feel annoyed at having to leave her apartment to buy tea voices that requires a tea bag to each of its neighbors. Reactions are different and, therefore, will take a different path history.

Ideally, your character is as close as possible to a real person. And real people are not perfect, so that we can forget those characters like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in everything. We are not always friendly, we are not always in a good mood or we feel like work.

And the same goes for the characters perfect in his wickedness. That villain having fun twisting necks of chickens as entertainment in his spare time, he hates absolutely everyone and whose highest aspiration is to finish the good of the story just because are not very credible, is that they are also very boring.

The theory is clear, I think.

We all want to write unforgettable characters, those who would follow until the end of the world. Characters who steal your heart or you hate so hard to be taken to keep reading just to see how they get what they deserve. It is not easy, of course, but why we are here.

For me, what helps me is to know a lot of my character. I use to learn many things from them, but then not even use them directly in the story, but it helps to situate, to imagine, to know how they will react, which makes the writing process much faster and enjoyable.

Many times it is something that I made in an unconscious way. I can just imagine them standing before me, his facial expressions, clothing and sometimes even their smell. In my case, I'm much better build characters who develop a coherent plot for them. It's a curse, I know.

Depending on your history will have one or more players, one or two opponents and a variable amount of people just walking by. Perfect. You are the director of your work, so that you're the boss. Typically, your protagonists and antagonists are those who take all your attention, but do not neglect your secondary.
I am always in love with side characters, I know of what I speak.

Of course you do not need you to know the whole life of that lady that intersects with your main character only once in the metro stop, but try that your side characters has something that makes them unique, something that makes them be anything more than a silhouetted against the wall.

The best way to know your characters is, of course, asking. On this page you can see an example of fifty questions that let you know much better  your creatures. I may seem a bit excessive (to me it seems), yet I cannot wait to do the test with my players for this year's NaNo.

If you think is TOO MUCH you can do a shorter version. Shout to your characters basics: name, date of birth, current job, family, etc ... Also I can be very helpful to make a short summary of a typical day in your life: what time is usually up, do breakfast, what to do next ... You can be all you want and retailers, obviously, the more detail you put, better known to your friends...

A key question that we cannot do is forgotten What you want? Since marrying a millionaire to find his lost dog, it's up to you, but it is vital that you know this as it will be what you advance the plot. And I tell you, I'm a mess for these things, but this year I'm being good.

In any case, try to visualize your characters. If it's any help, you can even help you with photos of real people, famous actors, your cousin, your neighbor who lives in the fifth floor ... If you can see it, feel it, probably will be more fluid your writing and your characters come to life for your readers.

Sometimes, they would be so much lively, which often begin to do things on your own in a way that you can’t imagine...

Homework for next week I think is fairly obvious. You will have to start to get intimate with your characters, begin to know them well. You'll spend much time with them, so you better do it now ... Of course, you can do everything detailed as you like, but try to at least baseline data:

- Name
- Age
- Three physical characteristics
- Three mental characteristics

And above all

- What do you want? What is your motivation?

Of course, when you started to write your story you may have to change one or more characteristics, or even motivation, but remember that all this previous work aims to make writing your novel a lot easier than you thought at first.

Go ahead, little kids!

1 comment:

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