So how do you write strong characters? Characters that make the reader feel like they know the character, even if they’ve never met anyone even remotely like them in their lives? You get to know them, that’s how. Yes, I mean you. You get to know them. You get to know not only their appearance, their voice, who their family and friends are, what they do, what their favorite color is, etc., etc., etc., but you also get to know why their favorite color is teal, how they got that tiny scar on their left cheekbone (and of course you have to know first that they have a scar on their left cheekbone first). You have to know everything. You probably won’t even use half of it if you’ve done a good job, but it’ll show in your writing and that person will come to life in little ways that come only from you knowing them.
Setting’s like that too. I’m finding that the more I know about my City, the more I can drop in little details that make it come to life: she’s taking the tunnel to Pike Street, not to the street near the bar. She’s sitting on the wall knowing she can’t see the fishing ships because they left from a harbor far south of where she’s sitting. She’s hoping they’ll finally get a day of sun in this endless winter of grey skies and misty rain.
For more ideas on how to get to know your character, check out Janice Hardy’s blog post called “Who is That Guy? Discovering Your Characters.”
Word count tonight was only 62 words because I had to get ready for this weekend’s writing conference. Ok, I pretended to get ready for this weekend’s writing conference… Hey, but don’t judge. I ate a salad today. Actually make that two. That should cover every other sin.