Just Who Are These People Anyway?

I have written in the past about my strained relationship with characters. As a reader I am normally much more interested in the world, the universe, surrounding a story than I am invested in the characters. There are some notable exceptions, and I think that speaks to just how well those characters are written. I want to be able to write characters that make even me interested in them.

I have about a month and a half of prep time for my novel writing challenge in January. I am not allowed to actually write any real content before then, but I can plan to my heart’s content. Much of that prep-work will be really establishing who my characters are. What are their nuances? What drives them? What relationships do they have? I expect this is how most authors go about things, but this will be the first time for me.

Since I prefer reading about places, events, and grand schemes, I normally start my story planning there. I have come to understand this is generally viewed as amateurish, and I have no doubt a lack of experience is part of my problem. Perhaps taking the time to go through this intense prep-work for this story will make all my future characters stronger. I hope so.

I have been toying with the idea of doing some writing exercises – randomizing some traits and motivations and trying to write character-focused vignettes to get in the habit of caring about them more. Does anyone have experience with this? It seems like it would be a good primer for getting back into writing in general, being a solid writing task, but not something that will distract me long-term. I’ll have to schedule some time. Perhaps I will post them up here.

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