Posted by: victanguera | March 9, 2010

Writing Prompt #148

I’ve started a new project and would like to avoid the lack of characterization that occurred in the last novel. When I wrote that story, I had a concept in mind and sat down one morning and banged out words. My original idea had my main character a human that recently broke up with her boyfriend. I thought I’d have her learn tango and head to Argentina, get bitten and turn into a vampire.

The story drove me nuts. The way it started felt very chick-lit, and I didn’t like it. So I decided she should already be a vampire. Except I didn’t think about her age, where she came from, how she got where she was. She had no background. No history. The crit on Sunday reminded me how much I didn’t know about my own characters.

This time, I’d like to approach things differently. I’d like a clearer idea who these people are before I start.

So for today’s prompt, think about your characters. Who are they? How do they interact? What history do they have together? How long have they known one another? You can jot ideas on a character sheet like the one found on thescriptorium, scribble ideas on a piece of paper, make a mind map, create a papier mache composite. Whatever works.

And if you go to all this work and your character/story doesn’t gel, be willing to either shelve the story or take the time to rework your characters and their history. Your crit partners will thank you.

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