Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finding Unique Situations For Your Characters

I will admit: this is a resurrected post. Mawhahahaha! I have been re-posting a few of my earlier articles. Back when  I first started this blog and had no followers or visitors. But I liked many of my earlier posts and thought they deserved a chance to be read. so ENJOY!!!





When developing your character you need situations for your character to work through. Plot development and character situations really mean about the same thing and without plot to move your character forward, you have no story. So how do you develop unique, intriguing problems for your character to work through? Here's a list to get your creative inspiration moving in the right direction.

1. Role Play
As a child, we did this all the time. We were firemen, princesses, doctors, soldiers, detectives, and spies. We could be anything we wanted and it was the best fun as a child. Remember? An easy way to add to the plot is to become someone else. Build a spaceship and fly into outer space. Battle the aliens. Escape capture or rescue your buddy. Spend an afternoon shooting hoops, baking cakes and cookies, trying on dress after dress. Pretend you are part of a group of gypsies. Become your character for the day and watch the ideas explode. It works. I have tried it!

2. Read. Read. Read.
A really good source of inspiration comes from newspapers and magazine articles. Some of the most bizarre things happen in real life. Use those weird stories! After looking through an advertisement for the local clothing store, I came up with a clever way to jolt my character Shae awake from her loss of memory.

3. Talk to People

Especially people you do not know. Really. They have fascinating stories to tell that will never make the newspaper. The woman with the strange hair style. The homeless person sitting on the bench. The family at the airport, or sitting in the pew in front of you at church! Don't let that opportunity slip by without saying hi, how are you, my name is Sue. What's yours? They may only say one thing: their name. But I have created characters just because I fell in love with an unusual name.

Ideas are all around you if you open your eyes, ears and even your nose. Have you ever smelled something so different, so gross, so beautiful it inspired an entire scene in your book?

12 comments:

  1. I always role play, much to the disgust of my kids. :)

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    1. Thank goodness I have kids! I can pretend to be playing with them. But then, they look at me kind of strange because what I'm saying and what we are playing doesn't always match:!

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  2. What a wonderful post! If all your earlier posts are like this, I say resurrect them all. Such great info and ideas.

    I like the role playing suggestion. One of my passions is acting in community theater, which I've done throughout my life, and has given me insight into being other people - role playing.

    Some people forget that we used to do that all the time as children and have difficulty connecting with that again as adults. I say throw out your inhibitions for the day! Become a little girl or boy again (tell your family, first, before they commit you). A good exercise we used to do in acting was to pick a person (spoiled brat, grandmother, pompous jerk) and say a given line as that person. Watch TV and repeat lines as that person. It helps get you in the frame of mind of being someone other than yourself.

    Great post, Ink. Look through the archives and pull out some of the other winners...I'm sure there are a lot. And great decorating in here!

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    1. Thanks ML! I'll be posting older posts for the next few days.
      So you are a drama king? Me too! Although my video for Pitch Live didn't prove it. I had big plans fr an impressive pitch, but first, my video person bailed on me. I am not very technically inclined, so my abilities were severely declined.

      Also, a very dear friend passed away on Sunday night, so it was hard to be enthusiastic.

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  3. I tell myself stories, reminiscent of my make-believe world of childhood, and let the characters and situations develop in my mind's eye. I find that long walks and, of all things, doing mundane house-frau chores are especially conducive to this activity. Sometimes I'm not even aware of my surroundings or what I've done because I'm so caught up in the story! Glad you are pulling out your old posts for us new readers.

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    1. I do t hat sometimes when I;m driving on a long trip. It makes the time go by so much faster!

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  4. But talking to people is so scary! Erm. I think you've got great points though.

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    1. I know, I know! Try the person behind you in the grocery line, or someone new at work, the library, church, or some other public place. Just be safe and never reveal personal information.

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  5. Love this! And I LOVE talking to people I don't know, LOL... it's fun to see what they'll share and I find it fascinating. But great post---some excellent key points here. Thanks! :)

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    1. Thanks Morgan! My second list will be posted tomorrow!

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  6. Hmmm...I try to include the sense of smell in scenes, but don't think one has ever been inspired by a smell. I am extremely visual so most of my initial inspiration comes from images - either seen or imagined. The rest follows along.

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    1. I have to be very careful about including other senses in my manuscript. I'm very visual, too!

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