Welcome to day three, guys! Yesterday, we created some of your main characters. Remember, they should all have a first name and a distinction. This is important. For today’s work, it’s imperative to know whether you’re dealing with an antihero or an antagonist.
It’s time to start building your plot, and that’s going to happen via character development. Remember how you wrote down a super simple plotline on day one? It’s time to grab that document.
Each character plays a role in the success of your plot, or else they are a worthless character to have in your story. The way to determine the significance of each character to your plot is to draft a short synopsis for them.
Let’s take a look at my character Blythe Washington from the Belle Âme Chronicles series. This is the character description I wrote for her before writing even so much as the first chapter of Down The River:
Blythe Washington – A homeschooling mother who is trying to keep her family unit together while dealing with a barrage of threatening messages from an unknown source. Blythe is an online fitness instructor who mentors her clients via webcam. She was responsible for [redacted for the blog due to spoilers]. Blythe feels like her youngest daughter Jaxyn just “gets” her. Unwilling to put Edwin through the stress, Blythe tries to sleuth down the identity of whoever is sending the anonymous messages to her family.
For those who have read Down The River, this is a pretty accurate representation of how Blythe behaves, not only in the first book, but throughout the entire series. From this one-paragraph description, I was able to create multiple plot points involving Blythe, her behaviour, and her relationships.
These plot points come from Blythe’s character description alone:
- As a homeschooling mother, Blythe must run “classes” for her children.
- The Washingtons are receiving threatening messages. Blythe is the one trying to keep things under control.
- Blythe runs fitness classes while dealing with the above two issues.
- While she loves all of her children, she is closest to the youngest and gives Jaxyn special treatment and leniency.
- Blythe decides to go Nancy Drewing for the sake of her family’s stress.
Now, remember that similar descriptions were also written for Nathalian, Edwin, Sevii, Ramona, Jaxyn, and Skats. Each character description permits several plot points, and these plot points all make it easy to pull a prose outline together. See why it’s important to develop the main characters first?
So, that brings us to tonight’s homework: Write a description for each of your characters with 3-5 plot points included for each character. Feel free to bounce ideas from one character to another. If you write a plot point for Character C that could easily impact Character A, add another plot point to Character A’s description.
Tomorrow, we’re going to focus on selecting a setting for your prose, so you may also want to keep in mind what sort of settings each character thrives in and which settings “weaken” them.
For help developing these main characters, take a look at my guide on how to quickly create believable characters.
For a sense of camaraderie (whether for NaNoWriMo or for writing in general…or to learn about other indie authors), I encourage you to join my Reader’s Nook on Facebook! It’s free and FUN 🙂