I’ve mentioned before that I “cast” my novels in my head before I write them. This helps me stay on point and keep the characters true to themselves. So I might think they look like whatever celebrity but they have the personality of that guy from college that I always wish I had dated or maybe they’re like a mix between this tv show character’s personality and that movie star’s looks.
So I get that far, and then I have to start going deeper – what really makes them tick? This is where I start really fleshing them out. I found these guidelines on a forum board a long time ago – I Googled them to try to find a source but they’re all over the internet and for good cause. This is what they call the story circle – this will get you where you need to go:
- You (a character is in a zone of comfort) Paint your character’s world and their place within it
- Need (but they want something) What do they really want, deep down inside?
- Go (they enter an unfamiliar situation) This is the first catalyst to their change
- Search (adapt to it) Somewhere on the journey, they begin to change
- Find (find what they wanted) They get what they want, but it might not be what they need
- Take (pay its price) Something real or intangible is taken from them in the process
- Return (and go back to where they started) They return to where they previously were and discover they’re not the same person since their journey
- Change (now capable of change) They’re now capable of moving forward on the new track their life is on.
This rough guide has helped me so much. Once you nail down the key elements of your character(s) and their journey(s), that’s when the story comes to life.
Now, if you’ll excuse me…I have girl hovering over a dead body and getting caught in the act that I have to write about….