The Little Things
How well do you know your characters?
In order to get to know their characters some actors will try to become them, living their daily lives as their characters, writing journals in their voices and speaking in their accents. Allt his so they can seem more the characters they portray.
So what about writers? How much should we do to get in our characters’ heads?
There is no one right answer. For a secondary or tertiary character we may need only understand the few simple aspects that are shown in their brief scene—but for a first person narrator you need to know all you can.
But how can you get to know an imaginary person? The same way you get to know a real person—by learning little details about them until you can build a cohesive picture of them.
- How do they drink their coffee? Are they a frappuccino kind of gal, or do they prefer drip from the gas station with 3 sugars?
- What is their religion, and how often do they practice it? Do they choose their religion or do they go to their wife’s church?
- Do they open their presents on Christmas Morning or Christmas Eve?
- What was the first album they ever bought, and why was that one their first?
- Do they touch tye or type with two fingers?
- What medications do they take?
- What drugs have they one?
- What book are they reaing and what do they think of it?
There are hundreds more. And while you certainly don’t have to ask every question of every character you do need to know enough about them so that they can convincingly play their part.
What questions do you like to ask your characters, so you can get to know them?