This week my NaNoWriMo tips all focus on character. Characters are what make the story, without them you’d have no one to root for or dislike and nothing would ever get done. Sometimes, the easiest way to begin a story is to start with a character and put them in an uncomfortable situation. The reason my favourite novels are my favourites is entirely because of the characters within them.
Start a Character Scrapbook
Whether or not the only thing you may know about your upcoming NaNoWriMo novel is who your main character is or you’ve already decided on your entire ensemble – start a scrapbook. Trawl through magazines and cut out pictures or start a Pintrest board to gather your inspiration. Don’t just determine aspects such as your character’s eye colour or face shape, be imaginative and add images of the things she’d have in her home, or items she covets but can’t afford. Put yourself in your character’s shoes (don’t forget to find him some shoes first) and see what draws you in as you pretend to be them.
Sit down and mentally interview your characters. If you’re stuck for queries check out these 100 questions to ask and see how many you can answer! Even if you only pick own or two from each section the information can be quite revealing. Alternatively, just have an imaginary conversation with your character and jot down their responses. It’s amazing what you can discover just by digging that bit deeper.
Characters in a Jar
For those pantsters among us, this one can be a fun way to reinvigorate plot and take your novel on a completely different tangent. Grab yourself some small pieces of paper and jot down a character on each. This might include the basics like name, sex, height, age etc. but you can also add in some quirky character traits, such as ‘has a nervous twitch than manifests in a wink’. Finally, record the IMPACT that this character is going to have on your story – becomes the new bad guy, causes an explosion, seduces protagonist’s lifelong crush.
Once you have a selection of these, fold them up drop them in a jar and wait…You can either choose a couple on November 1st to inspire your beginning, or just wait until you run out of steam and then pick randomly to see how your next new character might push your word count up!
For more tips on how to prepare for NaNoWriMo – be you a planner or pantster – check out my other posts by clicking here.