Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why Did She Do That?

“Your character's background influences the way she responds to events and other characters.” – Hallie Ephron in Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel.
This quote complements yesterday’s. In order to write from inside a character’s head, I need to know what’s there. Where was he born? What kind of food does he like? How educated is he? Is he, or has he been, married. If he’s divorced, I need to know the reason, because this may explain why he reacts to women the way he does. Sometimes, I create character charts for the main people in a story to learn their backgrounds. Most of the time, I figure this out as I go along by asking myself how a character might react to the particular situation. I remember one story where I didn’t like how the character responded, so I tried other ideas until I found one I felt best fit the character and the situation. The offshoot of this decision was that I had to go back through the story and change other parts. That one decision had caused enough of a change in my idea of the character, that earlier actions no longer seemed appropriate. Thank goodness this was a flash story. I could have spend days on a longer piece making all the necessary changes. :)

1 comment:

Jim Harrington said...

I realized I hadn't turned on the ability to leave comments. That function is active now. :)