One of the things I love doing with my characters is imagining them in random scenarios. Because, let’s face it, we can fill out their bios all we want. It’s not until we actually write for them that we start to get to know them a whole lot better.
I’m not sure if this will become kind of a series, with me throwing five random scenarios/facts to find out about your character every now and then, so let me know if this post is helpful guys!
Putting your character into some situations can be fun and also interesting to ponder and work out what your character might do. Please note that this is just something I do and that I haven’t heard anywhere at all that this is required for writing a novel, I’m sure it’s not. These situations could inspire your novel, or you could ever put them in your novel. I just find it fun and kind of useful to do.
Number One? Homeless.
Your character is sitting on the mouth of an alleyway, late afternoon, people are walking home from work. As they walk past he asks them for change.
Already, we’ve got some questions to ask. Like, is he asking them for change? Is he even here? Is your character way too prideful, and would he rather starve than be caught asking for money? How is he asking for money? Is he so selfish that he’s shoving the can in people’s faces or is he so quiet they can barely hear him?
People’s actions speak louder than their words (also you’ll find that I say that one A LOT, not only with writing but also in real life situations. But that’s for another post . . .)
Back to our little scene, Let’s say a higher middle class business woman strides down the street, and turns up her nose at our homeless character. The homeless character notices her disdain, and says; “Got any change, ma’am?”
Just quickly I’ll mention that this kind of dialogue could be a lot different, depending on the character.
“No. Not for your filthy lot anyway.” she spits. “It’s lazy people like you who deserve to be on the street.”
Now. How does your character react as she strides off in her pointy shoes? Does he burst into tears or get up to lob her over the head? I’ve decided to include a little piece that I thought up. The scene is completed with a character from my current story, Blue Skittles (the code name of the story. I’m going to keep mentioning this is the code name because I don’t want to confuse new readers). I’m not even going to mention the character’s name, let’s just see what happens.
Late afternoon. I glanced up at the passerbys, wearing their pressed suits and ties. A middle aged woman with her nose in the air and a bun as tight as her outward persona clicked her kitten heels down the street. When she came to me, she slowed, and looked down her nose at me, coming to a stop.
Worth a shot, I decided. “Any change?”
“No.” her nose wrinkled, as though just talking to me filled her senses with disgust. “Not for your filthy lot anyway. It’s lazy people like you who deserve to be on the street.”
And then she strode off.
“How about you take that money and buy yourself some MANNERS!” I called after her, rolling my eyes and shaking my head. “Nasty.”
So, yes, as I was saying, this is a pretty cool way of getting straight to your character’s core. They’re scum to society, they get treated like scum from society, and then we get to see their reaction.
This was one of the more in depth ones that I wanted to look at (also don’t mind my unedited unrevised completely pantsed piece of writing, I just thought you guys would like an example). Here are the next four.
Number Two. Getting up in the morning.
Okay, I got this idea from the Pentatonix music video Starships. Someone commented what they each did in the morning at the beginning of the video. One took out her retainer, another fixed his hair, another was dancing. Etc.
When your character wakes up in the morning, what’s the one thing they usually do without even thinking about it? Something that they always do, it’s pretty much second nature?
This can say as much or as little about your character as you want, but I do find this to be one of the fun ones.
Number Three. A friend dares them to do karaoke.
Your character and his friend are at a club. Open mic karaoke night. The friend dares your character to jump up and give it a shot. Does your character jump up, eager to show the world what a star they are? Do they ponder it and then think, yeah, that could be fun. Or do they barter with the friend until the friend gives up, and your character stays far away from the stage or any kind of attention.
You can also ask why they react the way they do. Do they love attention because they were in childhood beauty pageants by their pretentious mother, or do they shy away because of one particularly bad incident at public speaking class? (I don’t even know that’s what it’s called, you know what I mean. Don’t judge me.)
Number Four. Late. Three things they would do before running out the door.
This one is so random and it varies so much that I can’t even be that specific.
I have one character who would grab his keys. Another who would draw on eyeliner as quickly as possible. So, yes, I can’t be specific about this one, because it’s a very . . . changeable subject.
AND FINALLY Number Five. The Sorting Hat.
I’m sorry for those who hate Harry Potter. But this. This is an awesome idea.
And kind of a cop out because I couldn’t really think of another idea, but oh well, we’re not going to look at it that way.
Go to Pottermore or Buzzfeed or wherever to find the sorting hat quiz. Fill out the quiz AS YOUR CHARACTER. To make it extra fun, write down which house you think they’ll get beforehand and see if you were right or not.
Who wants to hear some hilarious irony? I just realised that I can hear Harry Potter on the tv in the other room (internal laughing).
Anyway, go and enjoy these fun random things to do with your characters (because really, writing gets too serious sometimes) And I will hopefully post again soon. Revisions are killing me right now though (this is a welcome distraction) and if anyone has any tips, then please comment below and let me know!!!
Happy writing and revising and editing and . . . this is not a good way to end a blog post.