Update on my wiener dog Buddy: He refuses to Shih Tzu in the litter box. He seems to think it’s quicksand and that I’m some sort of evil villain hell bent on sending him to his doom. Insert maniacal laughter here… I’m giving up. Perhaps the guy I saw on shark tank the other night that invented the automatic pad-roller thingy will have his invention at Wal-Mart soon and I can buy it. That brings us to our next order of business, outlining a novel. In my last installment, I covered the first three steps. Now I’m going to give you the next one and it’s a biggie. Drum roll please. Characterization.
You should have a general idea of what your story is about and who your characters are. It’s time to refine and add detail. It’s time to do character sketches on all of your main characters – Who is this person? Think very carefully because this is going to be very important. What your character wants should be the driving force behind the story. It makes the the difference between writing a page turner people can’t put down and gee I wonder what’s on Netflix. What are their circumstances? What kind of conditions do they live in? What obstacles are they facing? Don’t just focus on generalizations. Dig deep. Based on your macro outline, what kind of person would be the most fun to transplant into these circumstances. You don’t want them to be a perfect fit to their surroundings. Give them something to struggle against. For example: If their parents are difficult then don’t make your character strong and unaffected. Make him timid and weak or better yet, kill the parents. Hey, Disney does it in every movie. In Big Hero 6, they killed the parents and the brother. I’m amazed the poor aunt survived, but hey, it pulled you in didn’t it. It worked on me. Not that I cried or anything. Okay, okay, maybe just a little. Animated films get to me. I admit it. Back to the point of characterization, though. There is some very good information on how to accomplish kick ass characters in 90 Days to Your Novel. No, Sarah Domet doesn’t say kick ass. That’s just me being colorful. If you are interested, there should be a link to Amazon at the bottom of this page. If not, it’s not a requirement. If you are like me, then you probably have a shelf full of books on writing. Pull out one on characterization and go to town. Let me know how you are progressing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your really stuck, turn on the t.v. and see what jumps out at you. Borrow bits and pieces from historic figures. Expedition Unknown is great for that. Okay, I just really love this show. When I grow up, I’m totally getting a job on Josh’s crew. Why? Because it looks awesome. But then, I love history. I’m a nerd that way. Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.