Nanowrimo Prep. Part 3: Characters and your world
How are your preparations going? I hope so super good! This week I want to talk about characters and your story world. Sitting at your computer on day one is not the time to come up with your main characters. Now is the time to start creating. If you've already chosen a story this makes this process easier. For example if you know you are wiring a Young Adult Fantasy novel, about a lost werwolf girl. Then you already have your protagonist, maybe you have an idea of a few of your side characters and perhaps even your villain but if you idea isn't that fleshed out yet, you might not have a lot of ideas about who your characters are and what they want.
I personally think what they look like isn't as important as the list I am going to give you below, unless their appearance is vital to the story in some way. So yes figure out what they look like but more importantly think about these questions below for your leading Characters. Just a note their are load of creating character lists out there so if mine doesn't work for you find one that does. I also love to take a pen and notebook and have my characters write a journal entry about their life. I feel that is really helpful especially if I am writing a villain or a character who's backstory is vital.
Creating a character in 20 questions:
1. How does your character feel about themselves?
2. How does your character feel about taking action?
3. How does your character feel about their family?
4. Is your character an introvert or extrovert?
5. What hurt your character in the past that still haunts them today?
6. What motivates your character the most?
7. What makes your character happy? Mad? Sad? etc.
8. What do they want to spend their time doing?
9. Why would they fight for what they want? And what is it they want more than anything?
10. Why would they give up?
11. What would push your character to their breaking point?
12. Why do people like them?
13. Why do people hate them?
14. Why do they hold back?
15. What makes them special?
16. Could they ever chose to be evil (or good if creating a villain)? Why?
17. Describe their bedroom? Do they have a lot of something? What color are the walls? etc.
18. What are 8 descriptive words that would sum them up? 4 positive and 4 negative (ex: messy, caring.)
19. Why would a reader care about them to spend the length of a novel or series with them?
20. What do they need to learn?
I hope these questions along with a physical discretion will help you flesh out your characters for you book. Now lets turn to the world. You might be writing a fantasy where you have to make up all the rules or you might be writing a contemporary book but you still need to understand their world and what makes it run. If they have a certain job their environment will be different than another. So consider the world they live in.
If you are writing a fantasy of some kind think about: the magic system, the rulers, the peasant folk, the bartering or money system, what the outside world looks like, what their buildings look like, where you character fits in the world, how do they see their world (good, bad, neutral), the backstory of your land, how it came to be, what the rules are.
If writing a contemporary you will still need to think about the rules, the environment, where they fit in, what they do in the world. If you are using a real place, either research it a lot now or hopefully you have seen it with your own eyes. Nothing beats actually laving lived or visited the place you want to set your story in. If it is a general place like a small town feel free to make it all up but it is helpful to use a small town you know well as a reference guide.
You need to understand your world so that we can feel like we trust you and the journey the character will take. Setting i huge and building that world will help you craft the setting for each scene.
As always thanks for reading and happy writing!
Cassie M. Shiels
Cassie M. Shiels.