12/30/09 ~ Character Development

What do you want from your main character (MC)?

What things do they bring to the story? Do they rescue someone? Do they abuse some one? Are they good? Evil?

You may not know all the characteristics of your MC when you first start outlining, but you know the general direction you want them to take. In Dream State I wanted my MC, Drew Sovern, to be a monster. I wanted him to act and behave as though there were no ramifications for the things he did. I also wanted him to be mentally unstable, but appear to be completely normal. He was a tough guy to write, because on top of the things that he was doing, I wanted his actions, his day to day activities to be believable.

In my current WIP, I was introduced to an excellent tool, courtesy of Carol Valdez Miller, @cvaldezmiller. Her tip was to interview the character. Seemed a bit odd to me but it was a chance to stretch a little bit, so I tried it out. The results surprised me. I sat down and developed a series of questions, then assumed the persona of the character, and came up with some very interesting results.

So if you’re struggling with the finer points of your characters, try an interview. You’ll find more than you bargained for, and create a much more robust and interesting character.

Thanks Carol for the wonderful tip.

Happy new year, and Happy writing.

Robert E



12/28/09 – Scene Development

I have seen a lot written about scene development from numerous authors. If you have been fortunate enough to have attained an education in writing or taken creative writing classes, I recommend that you review again the lessons taught there.

What I write here is my process and like everything else I do, it is my own, and could be viewed as a blasphemous method to the purest.

That said here is how I do it.

First I have to have a reason for the scene. I generally sit down and draw out a rough outline for how the story should flow. The high points nothing more. As I write in the general direction of the outline I develop the scenes my characters will live in.

In my current WIP, I needed a place for my MC to start showing off some of his talents. I chose to create a club scene in NYC for him to stretch his legs, find out all he was capable of.

Once the scene location was set, I started drawing off personal experiences to set the specifics. Though I have never been to a club in NYC, I have been to a club, I have witnessed first hand the effects of alcohol and drugs on humans packed into small spaces. Lifting my own experience and shifting into my characters world works well for me.

As you think about your scene, don’t underestimate your own experiences. You can draw from the vast amount of living you have done, change the names or situations to disguise any possible secrets getting out, and wa-la you have a scene that is believable by your readers.

This method obviously will not work if you are creating fantasy or sci-fi, unless of course your meds are better than mine.

Wishing you all productive writing and a Happy New Year.

Robert E