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Monday, November 16, 2009

Questions to ask your Characters

Hello Fellow Writers!

I wrote 3,000 words yesterday, bringing me up to 31,000 words. I'm actually ahead of schedule for completing my 50,000 word category romance novel by November 30th.

I'm starting to get to know my characters better. I have a feeling that when I finish my novel and go back to the beginning to reread it, I will have a new understanding of whether or not my hero and heroine are behaving in accordance with their character. I can't go back now, though. The only way for me to finish this first draft is to plow ahead. If I go back, I'll start revising, and that's not productive right now.

See, I love revising. I could revise a novel forever and be a happy camper. That's why I need to lock up my internal editor in order to get a first draft finished.

From WritingClasses.com, here is a list of questions that you can ask about your character in order to gain a better understanding of what your character is like. Check out the website for a second character questionnaire.

Character Questionnaire 1
This questionnaire is found in Gotham Writers’ Workshop’s Writing Fiction.
You might start with questions that address the basics about a character:
• What is your character’s name? Does the character have a nickname?
• What is your character’s hair color? Eye color?
• What kind of distinguishing facial features does your character have?
• Does your character have a birthmark? Where is it? What about scars? How did he get them?
• Who are your character’s friends and family? Who does she surround herself with? Who are the people your character is closest to? Who does he wish he were closest to?
• Where was your character born? Where has she lived since then? Where does she call home?
• Where does your character go when he’s angry?
• What is her biggest fear? Who has she told this to? Who would she never tell this to? Why?
• Does she have a secret?
• What makes your character laugh out loud?
• When has your character been in love? Had a broken heart?
Then dig deeper by asking more unconventional questions:
• What is in your character’s refrigerator right now? On her bedroom floor? On her nightstand? In her garbage can?
• Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Does he wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Is he in socks that are ratty and full of holes? Or is he wearing a pair of blue and gold slippers knitted by his grandmother?
• When your character thinks of her childhood kitchen, what smell does she associate with it? Sauerkraut? Oatmeal cookies? Paint? Why is that smell so resonant for her?
• Your character is doing intense spring cleaning. What is easy for her to throw out? What is difficult for her to part with? Why?
• It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. If he’s eating breakfast, what exactly does he eat? If she’s stretching out in her backyard to sun, what kind of blanket or towel does she lie on?
• What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?
• Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where is she going? What does she wear? Who will she be with?
Today my goal is to get to 33,000 words. I'm also enjoying reading a Harlequin Historical novel. It's called "From Waif to Gentleman's Wife" by Julia Justiss. Reading a Regency always has me itching to try and write a historical novel, but the few times I've started writing one I found myself caught up in research and neglecting the actual writing. I intend to remedy that at some point, perhaps after NaNoWriMo is over.

Wish me luck and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

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