Two things – reach for the stars and dig deep and what you get from that gives you the sense of a person. Create a character with an emotional honesty, a sense of distinctiveness, make them normal (or normalised), sure, but every single person in the world has issues. Deep, dark, icky secrets. And some that show plain as day on their faces. Reality in a character is the ‘between’ spaces, the places where the ‘real’ meets the ‘mask’ (and we all think no one notices).
The connection between character and reader needs to be a connection so deep it becomes a visceral, emotional, and physical connection. The reader feels it, smells it, fears it – just as the character does. That’s a good connection to create.
A reader needs to understand this character, needs to feel that ‘this is me’ or ‘I’ve been there’ or ‘that’s just how it is’ – when you get that, you win.
Then we dress them: up, down, frilly, fancy, in pants, in dresses, in tanks and tees. What does this character wear? Why? What are the underlying character needs that make them do this particular style of dress?
As the writer, you need to know why they choose the way they dress. And it is never ‘that’s what everyone wears’ because a character isn’t everyone. The character you create in your story is a siren, or she should be, to the reader. Her song must be irresistible, alluring, something the reader can’t drag herself away from.
That’s visceral. That’s character.
And that’s the warm-up writing exercise for today; it incorporates two separate links:
and the Daily Post.