My dear blogosphery friends,
I need your help. Through much reflection, a newly received critique, and lessons learned through last week's WriteOnCon, I've come to realize that I need to do great things to improve my characters. This is hardly a surprising discovery. I've been slowly moving toward this for some time, and have blogged about it before.
But now I want a complete overhaul of almost every single character.
Yeah, there's one who's interesting and developed (in my not so humble opinion). Unfortunately, she's second-string, and her deeper involvement in the stories doesn't occur until book 2 :( Not much help when I'm gutting book 1, is it?
The plan: I want to create an in-depth questionnaire for myself that I must answer in excruciating detail for every individual who crosses my pages. I don't care if the character makes a 2-page appearance—well, actually I do, because it means s/he should get cut. But each character needs to be examined under the bright interrogation lights until they sweat so much I can't read their words on the pages.
I have the following already:
Physical Appearance (eye color, hair color, other defining facial information, height, weight, scars, piercings, tattoos, is their second toe longer or shorter than their big toe? clothing style, hair style, makeup...)
General Historical Information (DoB, DoD (if applicable), education, extra-curricular activities, suspensions, broken bones, hospitalizations, first kiss, first extensive sexual experiences, mother's maiden name, heritage, children, parents...)
Personal Information (left/right handed, allergies, contacts/glasses/20-20, exercise routine or not, favorite color, food preferences, handwriting style...)
Personal Quirks (nervous gestures/ticks, sweaty hands, what do they do when they lie? phobias...)
- What did s/he want to be after growing up?
- Did s/he have any pets as a child? Names?
- Hobbies? How serious are they? Past hobbies since abandoned?
- Favorite iconic figures? (actors, writers, musicians, artists, world politicians, historical figures...)
- Video game obsessions?
- City or country or suburbia?
- Boxers or briefs?
- Favorite type of music? Favorite type of fiction or non-fiction? Drama, sitcom, or documentary?
- Do they drink? What do they drink?
- If s/he had a million dollars (or applicable currency)...?
- Left brained or right brained?
- Favorite/Worst childhood vacation?
- Favorite/Worst childhood memory?
- If s/he could visit anywhere, where would s/he go first?
The problem with the list: My list so far is a better description of who I am than anything else. It demonstrates how I think, and not necessarily how my characters think. The problem, therefore, is that my characters can only grow as much as I allow them to if I stick to this list. I don't like that. Not one bit.
(Personal information: type-A control freak...)
My request to you, dear beloved cyber-friends: Can you contribute anything to my laundry lists above? What other questions should I ask my characters? The randomer the better, folks. Hit me with your best shot! :)
And thank you!!!