I start this step much as the last one, but this is not optional. I start entering characters into yWriter, starting with main and adding side characters next. The character file grows as the story grows, entering a new character as needed. As I mentioned before we’re in different steps in the books. So, a little back tracking.
Smith has prep as step two through three, step four is characters. Schmidt doesn’t get to characters till day four. Wiesner has characters step one in outlining.
I believe characters are the soul of the story and without them you just have a catalog of events and description…you don’t have the actually happening of action, you lose emotion without characters.
But how to do this? There are a thousand questions you can ask a character and you may not know every detail. This is how I do it.
Write what you know now and the rest will come. That’s it. I put down what I know and I just add more as the book shapes itself.
Ever character gets a description, may have a short bio and a birthplace. If I learn more I add it to the file. yWriter lets you have a description and bio separately and you can structure it how you want. I don’t give everyone a name…some people are just their job description unless they speak up. Any dates I come up with go into that timeline (See Step2) in Excel so I can keep track of my timing.
FDi30D gets complicated on characters. The character sketch is a simple sheet, but then she has character settings (sheets where you list the areas you might find the characters. And in her research she includes research for these locations and accents and such. Too much. Write what you have then go on till you discover it later.
Smith has two notepads of forms for major and minor characters. I prefer the computer. He does have a point about listing flaws and grace. So I’ll keep note on that. I don’t actively search out pictures but grab them when I see them. I do write down interesting names I see, but that’s outside of the outline process and something I just do. Smith talks a lot about habits to pick up as a writer. They are good but I have those. His best advice just put down with you need. Creating characters can be a full time job and distract you from writing. Smith concentrates on files and such in the physical realm…I try to stay digital.
Sit that damn character in a chapter and take what you can get. Mainly I try to get:
Description, Short Bio, Name, Occupation, Goals, birth place. There you go.
Schmidt has you enter characters as you summarize and detail but on day four it’s the fill out stage. Quick characters and special scenes for those characters. Ugh. No. Too much. These are long worksheets. I try to come up with fears and such when they are needed in the story then back fill.
Remember when I said I have sundry stuff. Well I took a look through that and I have a character sheet that is just too long. I like Wiesner’s sheet and I’ll stick to that.
So onto our Tips from NaNo and Writer’s Digest today!
NaNo Card: Aim Low…They’re not saying you should not do your best…just remember complete it and change it later. Obviously with this process I’m aiming to cut down on that time.
WD Tip: Misusing Writing Groups. There are people (you know who you are) who use a group for social and self gratification…which is fine, but instead of getting things done they just endlessly work on the same project…never finishing. I’ll admit sometimes it looks like I’ll never finish. Obviously I’m part of a group but it moves me forward with criticism to make my writing better. If at any time you can’t see the goal for the trees, time to see if you need those trees.