Opinions vary on what makes a story memorable or keeps a reader’s attention but for me it all boils down to characters. If I don’t love the characters, I won’t be invested in a story and if I’m not invested, what’s the point?
It’s for that reason, that my characters tend to come before my story. I want to know them the way I know my dearest friends. After all, I’ll be spending a lot of time with them.
In my previous post for this month, I talked about how doing the work in the beginning will help the writing go more smoothly later and I think that carries through here as well. Once you know your characters inside and out, it’ll be easier to write them. On a physical level, this means you know how to describe the character to the reader–give them some sort of unique characteristic that readers and grasp and hold onto. On a mental and emotional level, it will help you know what a character will do in a given situation or how certain characters will interact with each other. You want each character to be consistent and you want them all to stand apart.
You might want to take the time to sketch a drawing of your character, or you might prefer to use photos of celebs you would use in your dream casting for a movie adaptation. I’ve also taken to creating Pinterest boards for characters to collect clothing, accessories, or other images that remind me of that character in some way. This is an idea I got from Character Studies that Gail Carriger posted on her blog.