My life changed one day when I watched the TEDtalk, How to Write a Novel in 20 Minutes.
Besides all the great things Simon Van Booy said, I took note of one thing: make characters based on people you’ve met.
They can be fictional or not. Here’s an example.
The one real life person I met and based one of my characters on, was a co-worker I hated at my first job after high school. Do you know Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender ? Well, I dealt with the black version of her for four years.
I know you guys are asking – why did you write about her then?
You’d understand if you were me. Though me and this girl did not click, I found myself noticing her bored but calculating look anytime she stared off into space. The way she spoke seemed so out of character, that my suspicions were confirmed when a customer told her she sounded like Olivia Pope from Scandal. This girl also knew how to straighten up kids anytime they tried messing around in the store, and had a strange sly expression about her face anytime she threw shade. She had brimming confidence oozing out anytime she blinked and she could charm anyone with her conversational skills.
As a writer, you can’t help but write about people who make a certain impact on you.
When it comes to characters, quietly cast people.
Since 2012, the cast of characters I had in my mind developed slowly the more I met people, saw fictional characters, as well as looked up historical idols and celebrities.
- References are a must. Look up any person when it comes to developing characters. I had a character who I wanted to be a dictator. I did not know real life dictators, but I definitely looked them up on Google.
- I start with background information with character. Characters are the first things you develop when it comes to story. They dictate what happen.
- By the time you’re done with their background information, you should have a story plot structure forming.
- Finish your plot structure of the story. Have a clear path of what will happen in the story and the role your characters will play.
- When you no longer feel the need to change character information, get a profile sheet done for them.
- Continue focusing on story and make changes when you need to.
I did not do alot of work today because I was out the whole day running errands. For now, I’m just doing minor changes before I get ready for the night.
Novel Diaries – Day 8 – Lessons Learned:
- Everything looks crazy, but since you’re crazy too. You’ll fix it.
- Characters form whenever they want, with or without your permission.
- Characters can also be based on more than one person.