Blogs by Randy Young
Creating your Frankenstein
4/2/2008 9:28:44 AM
Creating a main character is one of the most challenging and important aspects of writing. Your mission, if you choose to accept it. is to create a character that readers connect with in some way.
Readers enjoy the unique individual who is trying to overcome some impossible task. It is always enjoyable to read about a charcater that makes us feel like we have accomplished something. We connect and are almost out of breath at the end of the book.
Your writing is not a monster. It can be one, if you are having trouble creating that special character.
Try the following to create your own Frankenstein:
1. Give a name to your character. Make it a name that is appropriate. I just could not imagine some characters with certain names. Could you see Goliath being Fred? Could you see Batman being Cardinal-man? Could you see Hercules being Henry? (There is nothing wrong with Fred or Henry. I am trying to make a point.)
How old is your character? What does your character want to accomplish?WHy does your character want this? What is keeping your character from reaching this goal?
2. List three words that describe your character? Really think on this. Make it the three best words that you can come up with.
3. Where does your character live? Describe the living space. (You learn a lot about a person by seeing how they live.)List 7 things that could be found in the character's bedroom that reflects the person's character.
Side note: Allow me to leave the subject for a moment and tell you a story. Actually, it is true.
Years ago, I worked at a small school. A young man became a friend of mine. He would always hang around to talk. He would listen to everything that I had to say.
I invited him to go to supper with my family one evening. His dad dropped him off at the local Chinese Restaurant and we ate. We had a blast. I have never seen a young guy eat so much in my life. We laughed and talked and laughed some more.
After eating, we took him home. He asked me to come in and see his stereo. I did.
I meat his dad and step-mom. They were expecting a child. You could tell that everything was all about the new baby. They hardly noticed their son come in the house. They did say "hi", but that was all. It was weird.
The young man led me up the stairs to his bedroom. His bedroom was on the top floor, In fact, he had the entire floor. This included a bathroom and computer room. (complete with internet) His bedroom was large. It had a "humungus" stereo, a telvision with a couch in front of it, a television with a video game hooked to it, and a door that led to the outside stairs. (He could leave and enter that house at will. Dad and step-mom never knew when he was there or not.)
There were no pictures on the walls. The walls were dark. There were no posters on the wall. It was all about the things to entertain him and take up time. Basically, he lived alone. There was nothing visible that made the room feel homey.
By looking at his living space, I saw who he really was. I saw the life that he leads. It made me love him more, as the young man that he had become.
He was pulled from the school, but I did have a chance to say "bye." I did not see him for years. Finally, I saw him at a restaurant one day. I got to shake his hand. His dad still missed it. Dad was too busy. I am glad that I was not too busy. I gave him time.
See, you learn so much by seeing how a person lives.
Back to character...You want the reader to connect with the character and turn the pages of the book. You want the reader to make that commitment from page one.
4. I will say more about dialogue later. Just this one thing, think of baody language when you write dialogue.
5. Think...what is the character thinking? Get into the character's mind.
6. What is the character wearing? Clothes tell a whole other story. Why does the person dress this way or that way? Is it required or is it choice?
7. Quick list: Do not think sentences, think ideas.
What does your character like to do for fun? What does he/she not like? What kind of friends does this person have? (Birds of a feather, flock together.) What are his/her favorite foods?
Finally, you have a great start to creating your character. This is your "Frankie." I do not mean that your writing in like a monster. You know what I mean. You are creating someone unique. You are the creator.
Fun stuff, huh?
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