Friday, September 27, 2013

Do You Know Your Main Characters Well?

I found the Character Brainstorming worksheet above at a website that helped children and teens hone their writing skills. I think it would be of great benefit to anyone who writes fiction, or even creative nonfiction, to use something like this when developing characters. 

Quite often, a writer has a story idea and plunges in blindly to write the story. That's one reason the first writing of a story is called a rough draft. Most are really rough! If you fill in a worksheet like this one for each of the main characters in your story, you'll know that person well, you'll be able to think like they might when you write the next draft. All these small things above will give you a full picture of this person. As a writer, you'll be able to slip inside that person and write the story from his/her view. 

Copy and print the worksheet and keep several on hand so you can grab one and start filling it in. If you have three major characters in your story, make three worksheets. You can also make a numbered list to help you develop the character, don't need the clouds above. 

Let's try one here:
1.  Name:     Will Jamison 
2.  Gender:    Male
3.  Hometown:  Medlin, Iowa (fictional town)
4.  Age:  11, almost 12
5.  Looks:  blond, blue eyes, slender build
6.  Family:  father (called Da), grandmother (Gran), brother (Freddie), great-uncle (Uncle Jack)
7.  Favorite Food:  Hermit Cookies
8.  Favorite Activity:  reading books
9.  Biggest Fear:  that he'll never get out of his job at a coal mine and back to school
10 Least Favorite Activity:  working as a 'trapper' in an underground coal mine
11. Best Friend:  Emily, the girl next door
12. Anything Else:. he is determined, angry, and afraid of a bully in the coal mne

The character in my list is the protagonist in a juvenile novel that has been written, not published. How about trying one of your own? Keep the list handy and add to it as you write the story. Yes, it will take some time to do this, but what you reap in the benefit of knowing your characters well is worth whatever time it takes.

Another, more detailed, worksheet can be found here. The one in today's post is a good beginning, this one will flesh out the bones quite well.

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