Every moment of our lives can be an opportunity to delve into our characters. Borrow from acting techniques and use yourself as the basis of comparison to gain a deeper understanding of your main characters. First, find out how you feel, then compare it with the feelings of your characters. Always write in the first person.
This half-hour technique is simple. For each exercise, set a timer for two to five minutes:
2. Write down a brief description of a memory that encapsulates your feeling.
3. Ask your main character how they feel on the same 1-10 scale?
4. Write an imaginary memory that captures the essence of their experience.
5. Repeat for villain or obstacle; how do they feel?
6. A brief memory that expresses that feeling.
Here are my exercise results. My character’s name is Dotty, and the obstacle’s name is Peter.
2. Memory: Skiing in Utah in knee-high powder with my dad and brother on a cold sunny day. We were laughing at everything and having a great time.
3. Dotty. Snow reaction: #10. I hate snow.
4. Memory: One day, I went dancing, and the place was closed due to the snow, and then I slipped and hurt my ankle. Ugh.
5. Peter. Snow reaction: #4 . Causes problems.
6. Memory: I like it, but it adds to traffic problems, and I commute to work. Last week, I was an hour late. I would have liked to play hooky and sled but couldn’t.
You can use any kind of weather to explore your characters, but it’s easiest to use what you’re experiencing.
I’m also thrilled to share Episode #60 of Jokeonasick.com. Subscribe for free and get four fresh, animated jokes in your mailbox every Friday.