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More About Characters (cont’d)

magic crystal ballLet’s delve a bit further into finding and creating characters for your writing. For instance, say you need an auto mechanic in your story. Remember the mechanics you’ve known, both professional and the back-yard type. How did they dress? How did they walk and talk — what mannerisms can you remember? Does one stand out because he spoke very loudly or very softly?
Now expand your awareness a little bit. What sounds can you hear? Can you hear traffic passing on the nearby street? What does it sound like? Do you hear big trucks and autos? What kinds of sounds are coming from the repair shop? Did you just hear the clank of a dropped wrench—the sudden thunder of a revved engine? Now you’re not only seeing the character, you’ve put him in his environment. If another character is speaking to him, will that person have to shout?

Step by step, you start by remembering, then you add the environment and sounds, and finally you put in your main character interacting with this person in that environment. You now have a complete world, like a stage set. You’ve got the props, the sound effects, and the script! Now all you need to do is plug it into your story and the lights come on.

Published incharacter development