Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who Are You?

I'm an upbeat gal. I'm the one who talks about being extraordinary, book workouts, query sushi, how even famous writer's poop and my fondness for cookies.

But sometimes I feel like I've misrepresented myself. Why? Because while I am all those things, being positive is only part of who I am.

Don't worry, I don't dress up in a superhero costume and climb tall buildings (not yet anyway), but I do have another side.

I have down days. I can be shy. It takes a lot to make me angry. I cry at Disney movies. I don't always brush my hair if I'm not going outside. I don't like needles. I'm allergic to garden grass (yes, you heard me right. I'm allergic to lawns -- I'm a freak.) I can be sarcastic, I'm loyal, I get hyperactive after drinking coffee, I'm perfectionist. I could go on, but it would bore you.

Why am I telling you this? Because it's part of what makes up my character.Those sides don't come out all the time, but they're still there. They lurk inside me, but I wouldn't change them.

It's the same when we're writing. While we all want our MC to be kick-ass, they still have another side to them (even if you never show it all). Do they pick their nails? Do they hate fish? What makes them happy? You don't have to write it down (I don't), but it helps to think about it for a few minutes.

Knowing these things about your characters, even if you don't write them, will make them seems more real. In the end that's what we all want, right? A believable person to spent 300+ pages with.

What about you? How do you approach getting to know your MC?


  1. I think about them. A lot. Okay, I also do those other things like backstories, interviews, collages. But I get to know them so well in my head, they seem real to me. The trick is making them real to the reader. ;)

  2. I make a list. Every MC needs to have quirks!


    (btw ... I LOVE the new blog layout!!)

  3. One of my critique partners and I decided to start doing a sort of "Interview" with eachother's MC and we'll ask eachother random questions back and forth. This morning's question was, "What would your MC order at Starbucks?" Sometimes it sparks little scenes and sometimes I just laugh... Great post on characters and I too love the new layout!

  4. Usually I get to know my MC during the first draft. I just let it all come out as I write, then I delete what isn't needed. I still know all that stuff anyway. It's easier for me to let it flow.

  5. I think a lot about my characters, then I pen everything down on cards to have at hand. But I like Magan's idea of random interview questions about the MCs :)

  6. I don't think I could ever come up with as unique a character detail as: I'm allergic to lawns! So great.

  7. I love the character interview stage and coming up with all the quirks, vices, weaknesses, etc along with all the great stuff.

    And, by the way, I am allergic to grass, too! So glad to know I'm not the only freak. My parents totally thought I was making it up as a child as a way to get out of pulling weeds, ha!

  8. That's so true. As real people (I hope we're all real), we don't show our whole selves to everyone. There's kind of a big difference between Wilderness Survival Katrina and Hermit Novelist Katrina.

    Great tips to keep in mind while I'm writing. Thank you!

    p.s. My trick is to talk to people about Azalea as if she's real. I use her name and talk about her hopes and fears.

  9. I'm like you, I think about that stuff but I don't write it down or if I do write it down, it rarely makes it into the actual story.

  10. Good post, Lindsay. I'll think about this during my revisions.

  11. LOVE this post! You're absolutely right--we need to see "weaknessess" in characters as well as strengths.

    Gosh, it's kind of sad that I implied showing emotions sadness) as a weakness, b/c it really isn't. Hmmm, interesting how things are viewed, ain't it?


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