Most of you already know that I’m a plot chick. I usually can’t even begin to really focus on character until I get the novel structure down. That’s my process.
Last night during my writing session, I concentrated on character development — specifically my secondary characters. There are three characters in particular that I need to flesh out.
One of the things that I do to get to know my characters better is ask a question and then let each character answer. The answers always surprise me and I always learn something from this exercise.
Here’s one of the questions I asked my characters last night:
Question: What do you think of Prince William and Lady Kate getting engaged?
Character 1 Answer: I really don’t care about Prince William. Or Kate. Why are you asking me all of this stupid celebrity questions? Let’s talk about something of substance — like the teen who died at that party last weekend. Or how the local food bank is running low on supplies and donations. Let’s talk about that!
Character 2 Answer: It’s so romantic. She’s a commoner and he’s a Prince. Did you see that engagement ring? C-A-R-A-T-S! I wonder what kind of wedding dress she’ll wear? I read that he proposed to her in Africa when they went on safari. Princess Kate! A modern fairy tale. I can’t wait to watch the wedding on TV.
Character 3 Answer: Whatever. It only took him like 8 years to propose to her. He asked her to wait and like an idiot she waited. And you know that prenup is going to be iron-clad. At least Kate’s family has millions so if it doesn’t work out, she’ll be fine money-wise. Queen Elizabeth isn’t going to let her near the family jewels. Hopes she likes the paparazzi following her. Goodbye privacy.
For me, this is a good way to get to know my characters better. I may not use any of the answers for the novel, but it will give me a better idea of how these characters will react and interact when I put them in the scene. And also keep them distinct from my protagonist.
How do you develop your characters? Would love to hear about other ideas.