So, you've got a plot bunny or two hopping around in your cranium. Before splitting hares with the plot, I like to work on my characters first. A solid plot and realistic characters go hand in hand. Knowing the characters inside and out will help you understand how they will react when being put through the rigors and trials.
If you're a first timer you are probably wondering where to begin. And, even those of you who have done this before are always looking for ways to make you characters more multi-dimensional. We've all had that moment when we were reading. (You know the one where we thought the book was wonderful till this point.) Then, all of a sudden, one of the main characters does something so bizarre in reaction to a plot twist that really doesn't ring true with who you thought they were. It makes you roll your eyes, groan, and wrinkle your nose. It's a good sign that the author didn't take the time to get to know their characters.
Here's a few resources to help you flesh out your characters:
- The best character analysis chart EVER! It's like an in depth interview of each character. I put this link up on twitter today and I got a lot of positive feed back on it. http://www.eclectics.com/articles/character.html
- Some character building exercises...these can help you determine how a character would be likely to react in a certain situation. http://www.pgtelco.com/~slmiller/characterexercises.htm
- And finally, I found this article put things in perspective when thinking about designing a character: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/32970/tips_for_authors_writing_realistic.html?cat=38
I've made good use of these tools in the past and I hope that they will make the time you spend hanging out with the characters in your novel even more productive.
Stay tuned for "Part 2." In the next half, I'll offer up some of the useful resources I've run across that are great for cooking up a thick and juicy plot.