January 8, 2014

IWSG - sometimes the thing you don't want to do...

will actually help. case in point - i realized that i didn't like my characters because i didn't know them. i went to my writing friends for advice that included "write something else for a while," "sit down over tea and talk to them," and "interview them." character interviews range from the basic to the insanely detailed. i finally found some stuff at Writers Helping Other Writers that i think will work. for now, i'm working with the Character Questionnaire.

i thought it would be drudgery. i wasn't looking forward to it. more background work. more putting off my story. but i was wrong. my son and i sat down and started doing work on the villain (because that's his character in this book). we've had a blast coming up with answers. it's given us more plot twists. i'm actually excited about my story again.

and stranger than strange, it's helping me get to know my hero. i never would have imagined. we've discovered that they're the dark and light side of the same coin, so to speak.

so here's to doing the thing you think you won't enjoy, because it just might help.

and for some eye candy, here's my villain, Dar'Vosh - Benedict Cumberbatch from Star Trek: Into Darkness


and my hero, Arathor - Adrian Paul from Highlander.

and my hero's son, the hero from the last book, Kieran - Steven Waddington from Last of the Mohicans, Richard the Lionheart, and Titanic.












if you want more encouragement, you can find links here to other IWSG posts. 

23 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll have to fill out that character questionnaire, because I am struggling as well. I did find something else that helped and posted about it today.

Murees Dupé said...

The questionnaire sounds promising. I definitely need to use it too. Congrats on your progress.

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

It does happen so often that those writing exercises that seem so drudgery are very helpful. I need to branch out and do other types as well. I tend to do the same things when I get stuck, which is get out a blank piece of paper to write whatever I feel, doing writing prompts or just write wherever in the project I feel like it, instead of linearly.

It's great to have family members who can be there to help you out of those moments. Writer’s Mark

Isis Rushdan said...

I'll definitely check out the questionnaire when I'm ready to start my next manuscript.

Margo Berendsen said...

I don't like the writing exercises and character building exercises until I start them and then I love how they get my creative juices flowing again. (Kind of the same with physical exercise). Hmmm, that comment about being the light and dark of the same coin really intrigued me. Finish the book so I can read it already! :)

planetpailly said...

I picked up a similar character questionnaire from a book on how to write science fiction. I've since expanded upon it, adding a few questions of my own. These things are surprisingly helpful.

- James

planetpailly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nancy Gideon said...

Nothing like getting to know your characters - then THEY do most of the writing for you. You got some great advice!

M. J. Joachim said...

Stepping out of our comfort zone is often a great idea!

Julie Luek said...

OH this is such a great idea for fiction writers! Perfect.

Donna Hole said...

You're having quite the adventure with your son too. Yes, I could write a hero that looks like Adrian Paul - if I could take my eyes off him :)

.......dhole

Misha Gericke said...

Yeah, sometimes it feels like a lot of unnecessary work to interview characters, but it does help a lot.

:-)

Heather Musk said...

I'm going to check out that character questionnaire too, I definitely need to get to know them better to improve my stories. Thanks for the tip!

Annalisa Crawford said...

So far, my characters have always been pretty clear, but I'll probably hit this problem one day, so it's good to hear your positive experience. And, of course, the added benefits of the photos!

S.K. Anthony said...

Oooh I like this! I'm off to that questionnaire, I'm hoping it inspires me keep going and figure out a couple of plot holes I'm struggling with. Thanks!

By the way, I almost didn't comment from the excitement… o_0 lol

Donna Shields said...

Great choices for your characters!

readfaced said...

Get into the drudgery. That is such good advice. I find that when I do the thing I am dreading, it always seems to make the difference.

Thanks for the reminder.

Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com )

Angela Ackerman said...

I'm glad you found your way to our Character Questionnaire. I find a lot of those are too basic--eye color, likes, dislikes...which really doesn't put you inside your character. Hopefully this one is a bit different. Congrats on successfully rooting around in your characters brains! The Reverse Backstory Tool might also help with that.

Happy writing!

Angela

Cheree Smith said...

Character questionnaires are great to get to know the characters. I always start with the basic questions when starting a project.

Marisa Cleveland said...

I love that pic of Benedict Cumberbatch! :)

Kim Graff said...

Um, I totally love you now. Anyone who can work Benedict Cumberbatch into a post is an amazing person :)

I'm glad you were able to get to know your characters better. I like to go over a character sheet before I start writing so I can get to know them better.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Glad you found the help you needed.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Cara H said...

I always say my characters write their stories, I just act as a "medium." Sounds cheesy, but that's how I roll. I am, in fact, cheesy.