Originally, An Autumn Tale was conceived to be a young adult fantasy, and it was supposed to be Peter’s story. Yet I was having a terrible time seeing the story through Peter’s eyes.
My writing instructor suggested writing several scenes from different characters’ points of view to see which character seemed to carry the story the best. It was Lucian who spoke the strongest, and the more I wrote about him, the more I realized An Autumn Tale was Lucian’s story. From that point forward, plot points and characters fell into place.
So when I hit snags with my other characters, I started writing my way into their personalities too. Here are a few tricks I used that you might enjoy trying:
- Write a scene where your protagonist describes the antagonist in his/her own words. Write it in first person even if you’re writing your story or novel in third person. Flip it and have your antagonist describe your protagonist. You can also have other characters describe one another and you might be surprised at what you find.
- Write a scene from each character’s point of view until you find the character that speaks the strongest.
- Write a scene where your character tells someone else about the circumstances surrounding his/her birth or childhood.
- Write a scene where your character tells someone about his/her parents.
- Write a scene where your character describes one life-changing event that forever changed his/her way of thinking and believing in the world.
You’ll be amazed at the things you find out about your characters and you can weave these details into your story to provide more depth. I have pages of scenes that never made it into An Autumn Tale but each scene gave me valuable character insight that I was able to use.
So now it’s your turn: what do you do to get in touch with your characters when you’re beginning a novel or story?