Whether readers are supposed to love or hate them, they’re absolutely critical to a good story. But writing them is not as easy as one might suppose … especially since the whole “sprung out of my head fully formed!” thing is total BS.
That’s where the complete character study comes in, a full-scale assault on who, what, when, where, how and why your character is and will be.
The other day I was cranking out character analyses for my latest novel in the Broken Moon series, and I realized – hey. I’ve shared an easier way to write a character study, but I haven’t yet shared the tips on how to do the study once you come right down to it.
There are tons of resources about this online, but I’ve yet to find one as comprehensive as the one my editor sent me when I was first learning this art. So I thought I’d pass it along.
Ur welcome. Without further ado, here are 50 steps to take and questions to answer for a complete character study.
That’s it! Not all of these are easy, I’ll grant you that. Character studies take time. When I’m doing a new one, it usually takes me at least half an hour, and that’s assuming I already have a lot of the plot and other characters fleshed out. New characters can take up to an hour or more, and sometimes take several stabs.
Don’t worry. You’ll get there.
I also find The Emotion Thesaurus to be SO helpful when writing character analyses. Real, live humans do all sorts of weird things: they blink too fast, their eyes bug out, they pick at their fingers, they scrape the dirt with their toes, they twist their hair, they tap their knees with their hands, etc. If you want to know what it looks and feels like for a character to be upset, nervous, lovelorn, guilty or any other emotion, this is the tool for you.
Hands down my favorite tool for becoming a better fiction writer, though, is copywriting. Does being a full-time writer automatically make you a fiction boss? No, or I would be richer than Stephen King … I mean, I’ve been doing this thing for a while.
But I firmly, firmly, firmly (did I say firmly?) believe that the best way to become a fiction writer is to start by writing professionally. That way, you’re cranking out words each and every day, honing a voice you can use for fiction and learning what it’s like to write full time for a living. It’s the best, and actually gives you the time to work on your novel. Trust me; I’ve written four since my two children were born, if that gives you any indication of the amount of freedom I now have.
… Okay, I’ll stop ranting now. Your path is up to you, my friend. If you want to learn more, check out the Free Resource Library by clicking the box below!
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