GPS for Your Novel’s Main Character
Map Your Way Into Their Personality
Gentle Passionate Sassy/Snarky
Had a session with my critique group today, and we discussed how to get into our character’s heads to make their story more believable. This led me to come up with a list of ways to achieve that goal.
1. Write a daily journal in your MC’s voice for a week. You may find he/she is giving you an insight to their problem.
2. Or you may find the solution to something that has been preventing you from moving the story forward.
3. List the their most obvious traits that make them a complex character and let it come out in their dialogue and attitude.
4. If that doesn’t work read through your favorite YA novel, or one that is in the same genre as your WIP, and write a few sentences about the protagonist using the following prompts:
a. What is their problem?
b. What is their motivation to obtain a solution to that problem, including internal and external motivators?
c. What traits make them complex (and either help or hurt their quest to solve their problem)?
d. What conflicts arise because he or she tries to solve their problem?
At the end of this writing exercise, you’ll have a rough road map of the character (and also how the protagonist’s choices influence the plot). Once you see an example, you can begin to develop your own character road map and define the elements that create a living, breathing protagonist. Good luck!