I am only 4,000 words into this darn book and already I’m switching up the storyline right and left. However, having a storyline for Velaria in the first place is definitely helping now that things are getting off the ground and starting to fly. I can always edit a storyline, but it’s kind of hard to write a book when you have no outline whatsoever to go on.
One magical thing that has happened so far in this long, agonizing process is this: I am falling MADLY in love with my characters. The following picture is a testament to my insanity–
(notice neither of those initials is mine)
I’m kinda hoping that millions of teenage girls will be doing this once the book is published (and again when the blockbuster movie is released. Hey, one can dream).
But seriously, any good book should make you feel this way about the characters. So drawn in by their joys and sorrows, dreams and failures, and most importantly, their stories, that you feel like they’re real and bring little bits of them into the real world. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Creating something new?
That is why I am challenging every writer I know and who reads this blog to DO YOUR CHARACTER SKETCHES. Seriously. If you’re half-way through the book already and haven’t done this crucial step yet, I say shame on you.
Get to know your people! What is their age and station in life? What do they look like? Where are they from? What’s their backstory? What you’re doing when you write is, in a sense, creating your own world and creating new people. So for heaven’s sake, give them nicknames. Families. A past. A future.
The characters ARE your story. I know this is a dumb example, because it’s a game and not a book, but think about Angry Birds. If you strip it down to its bare bones it’s a pretty stupid game, to be honest. A bird flies into a very poorly built “house” and smashes into a pig and *POOF!* it evaporates. This process repeats. Over. And over. And over.
Why do we love this darn game so much anyway?
Two words. THE. CHARACTERS.
Those birds are the very definition of cute, and so are the pigs. Have you watched the cartoons on youtube? I swear those birds were modeled off a 3 month old kitten. Pure “awww” every second of the way.
Now there are other factors that definitely contribute to the success of Angry Birds, but there’s a reason why their little plush toys fly off the racks. In fact, I actually have an Angry Bird carabiner on my key ring. Why? CAUSE HE’S CUTE. (plus he’s big and red, so he helps me keep track of my keys. But mostly he’s cute)
So, my point is this. Make your characters super-cute, super-loveable, super-evil, super awesome, super-relatable… I don’t care what the heck you do, just make them something people will REMEMBER and WANT. Because in the end, the characters rule.
Enjoy your Tuesday peeps. And remember to always do your character sketches.