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Monday, April 13, 2015

Main Character Bonding Time

This year, I've joined the YA Buccaneer Spring Writing Bootcamp for the second time. Why? Because I honestly need an extra kick in the backside to get some revisions done . . .and this makes it more fun!

Each week, we're given a little assignment, and this week's is one I really needed: list 10 - 20 facts about your main character.

Easy, right?

Ha! Not always for me. Often, I start writing a story with this exciting plot in mind and forget to flesh out the characters in my mind first. Oh, I know their general personalities, but when it comes to looks or hobbies or interests...uh... is all of that stuff necessary?

Yes, it is. A couple chapters in, this becomes painfully obvious. The action runs along and the plot thickens, but the main character remains flat and unexciting. That's when I realize I've forgotten the other side of the story - the emotional plot. A story isn't all about action - bummer, but true. There needs to be depth and emotional drive. The characters need to become real, someone to be remembered. And the only way to do that is to dig into their personalities and get to know them better than a best friend.

I call it character bonding time.  (*shiver* I'm not the bonding type.)

So, let's go at it! Here are several facts about my main character:
Daniel Bim. . .

1) loves to do cannonballs and swim.

2) is a bit of a home-body, not the adventurous type.

3) hates prejudices

4) a little clumsy

5) likes pepperoni pizza

6) feels out of place except on his uncle's farm.

7) would run around in swim trunks all day if he could

8) great at fixing fences and chicken coops

9) at home in nature

10) ready to try new foods

11) wishes to be accepted and have more friends

And what about you? Have you sat down and gotten to know your main character? What are they like?


  1. I think it was Krystal who said someone at a conference or a workshop told her that she makes a list of 100 things she knows about her characters. Seems like too much, but I wrote out a list of 100 things about my MCs.

  2. Hey, no need to knock putting plot first! So many authors forget that. I actually have character sheets for my characters, with their appearances, abilities, weaknesses, etc. all written out.

    But I'm glad you see you recognizing the importance of emotional connections. So many authors seem to forget about that too, and then the whole book is bland. :-P

  3. Daniel Bim sounds like a fun character.

  4. Daniel Bim! That's a fun name all in itself! I tend to know my characters really well since I usually get them before I ever have a plot. I actually sit down and write out all the physical attributes and temperaments of everyone who comes to mind for the story before I start to write, along with some random facts about them like favorite food or color to get a handle on how well I can see them and how well they're communicating with me. It's tedious, but I love doing it, and it SO comes in handy!

  5. I definitely hear you on this - it's so easy to get caught up in plot (and for me, world-building) that we forget about the characters, and it's really the characters that matter most. I've done something similar to what you're doing here, and now do a lot of pre-writing on each character, sometimes even writing short stories to get a better feel for these people. And it always makes for better, deeper, more interesting characters. Hope it works out well for you. ^_^

  6. I get to know my characters as I move through the story. This means I have to go back through the draft after it's done and do a lot of rewriting, but I know I'll have to do that anyway so I don't mind.

  7. Penny loves archaeology, but she is crazy about Martian archaeology. She is a junior in high school, but yearns to take on the alien digs. She has red hair, piercing blue eyes, and freckles. Her back yard is one reconstructed dig. Penny corresponds with the head of the Martian dig. She devours C. S. Lewis. She is a fan of the Martian hockey team. The more research I do, the more I find out about her!.


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