Friday, November 8, 2019
8 Character Development Exercises to Help You Nail Your Character
8 Character Development Exercises to Help You Nail Your Character 8 Character Development Exercises to Help You Nail Your Character Even the most fast-paced, action-driven novels need compelling characters to keep readers engaged. Of course, readers will never Ã¢â¬Å"get to knowÃ¢â¬ a character if the author doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t have a thorough understanding of who they are and what is driving them first. To this end, weÃ¢â¬â¢re about to get real close and personal with a few character development exercises.Character development exercises are a great way to give yourself a better understanding of the person you are creating with pen and paper (or Ã¢â¬Å"fingers and keyboard,Ã¢â¬ more likely). They also help you create resources that you can pull from during the writing process. In order to help bring your character to life, we are breaking character development down into three stages:Establish your characterÃ¢â¬â¢s current emotional motivationsPut your character into contextBring your character to life Even the most fast-paced, action-driven novels need compelling characters to keep readers engaged. Establishing your characterÃ¢â¬â¢s internal motivationsNailing down your character's fundamental goal - the thing that is truly important to them - will help you see what is driving them right now and why their story is worth telling at this moment in their lives. Without an internal goal to achieve, your story will lack a narrative arc. Perhaps even worse, your characters will come off as flat. How to Create a Character Profile: the Ultimate Guide (with Template) Read post Exercise #6: Break the iceThink about it: how many times have you been asked in one form or another, Ã¢â¬Å"So, tell me about yourself?Ã¢â¬ ItÃ¢â¬â¢s a classic ice-breaker question, and, these days, with social media and the overwhelming variety of ways for us to Ã¢â¬Å"present ourselvesÃ¢â¬ to the world, the stakes of Ã¢â¬Å"tell me about yourselfÃ¢â¬ have never been higher. Of course, we change the way we answer this question based on who weÃ¢â¬â¢re talking to. Further chip away at your character and establish how they present themselves to others by imagining how they would briefly describe themselves in the following situations: In a job interviewOn a first dateCatching up with an old friendFlirting with someone at a partyIn their Twitter bioAt the border between the US and MexicoExercise #7: A little less conversation, a little more actionWhen you meet someone, you do not start by announcing your height, weight, hair, and eye color, so please do not introduce your c haracter to readers like this. But how to avoid describing looks and physicality without chunks of exposition? Consider this line from James JoyceÃ¢â¬â¢s Ulysses: Ã¢â¬Å"He looked in Stephen's face as he spoke. A light wind passed his brow, fanning softly his fair uncombed hair and stirring silver points of anxiety in his eyes.Ã¢â¬ Joyce takes advantage of a moment of action to shed light on StephenÃ¢â¬â¢s looks and his anxious demeanor. Try your hand at conveying your character through action by first writing a list of physical traits that apply to your character. Next, with that list at hand, write a scene where something is happening - whether itÃ¢â¬â¢s a conversation, laundry-folding, cooking, etc. Weave references to your characterÃ¢â¬â¢s physicality into the action.Exercise #8: Take them on a test-driveSometimes a bad case of writerÃ¢â¬â¢s block boils down to a broken connection between you and your protagonist, and the solution can be a change of scenery. Not for you - for your character! Writing prompts are a good way to get the creative juices flowing and can help you clear out the block so your character can continue down your storyÃ¢â¬â¢s path.For a weekly supply of fresh writing prompts, head here. For your protagonist to shine through the page, they need to have their own voice. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s only once you have acquired a thorough understanding of your protagonist, that a compelling and realistic character will shine through the page. However, there is disagreement in the world of writing communities regarding what information is or is not relevant for an author to know about a character. While we believe itÃ¢â¬â¢s probably unnecessary for an author know the number of hairs on their characterÃ¢â¬â¢s head, we also believe you can never know too much about your protagonist. WhatÃ¢â¬â¢s important is discerning what information is significant to the current story youÃ¢â¬â¢re writing. As Ray Bradbury wrote in Zen in the Art of Writing: Ã¢â¬Å"Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.Ã¢â¬ If youÃ¢â¬â¢ve tried any of our suggested character development exercises, or if you have favorite tricks of your own, let us know in the comments!