Character Sketches: Take Two

So I’ve been doing the sketches, which is like pre-writing with real writing, and it’s taking some adjusting.

I’ve got the main characters and the main plot for the first book and a ‘controversy’ for the next book. Over it all I have a vague/hazy idea about what the main, overarching plot should be for the kid’s series itself.

However, it is very interesting. I find myself cutting off the development of the vague/hazy idea short every time I get to it because I don’t really want to know yet. I just want to know my people. Two of them became especially interesting last night during this exercise.

If anyone out there has done character sketches: how much time do you focus on the history of your character vs. the personality of your character. There’s a difference…I’ve avoided the history because that’s been coming up organically and the personality that these guys have will determine how they react in the situations I give them, but it also makes me want to go further into the story at the same time.

Writing Thoughts

jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. My time is split about 50-50 between personality and history. I’m not sure how you would separate them, because the history informs the personality and vice versa. I think you may be worrying about a non-issue. You’re afraid that if you know what’s going to happen, there won’t be any magic or surprises in the actual writing. It still happens even if you have a plan. And you should trust yourself enough to know that you will go with it when it does happen. What I find is that having a framework gives me more freedom in the writing, not less. I don’t worry about whether the story is going anywhere. I may end up taking a slightly different route, but I know I will get there.For a series, you do need to be more careful. A three-ring binder is good for keeping track of things. If Joe’s house is 3 blocks to the right of Frank’s in book 1, it better still be there in book 4 unless you’ve said that the family moved. Maps help. Go ahead an plan. Then just write, leaving the plan in the back of your mind. It won’t stifle your creativity.

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