It's a scary thing to be told you need to dig deeper. Especially when you thought that's what you'd already done, writing-wise. And while I truly despise those character study things that ask what your main character ate for breakfast and what's lurking in his dresser drawer (It's not that I don't know this and every other mundane detail about my characters by now, I just hate filling out the little Character Profile sheets that appear in so many places purporting to teach writing craft.), sometimes thinking about a character opens up a plot twist you may not have considered.
Today I found a new way to consider my character's innermost thoughts and dreams, and how I can thwart them. You know, raise the stakes and up the ante? That good stuff?
This from Cheryl Klein set me to thinking about my main character, which made me dream up ways to create more trouble, and that, I hope, will help the Big Revision Picture to develop.
So I'll share her writing tip and hope it works for all of us-- revisioners and planners alike!
Here's what Cheryl has to say about character studies:
If I were making up a character worksheet, I’d try this:
o And then under each of those categories—WHY?
· What these things add up to is your character’s morality—her ethical philosophy, her worldview
o What she wants most in life
o What she will or won’t do to get it
§ (or what can tempt or scare her into doing something)
o And how she developed that philosophy, those loves, hates, needs, wants, etc.
· And that’s a plot right there: motivation; action, and backstory.