Character Development (Part 5)

I’m an INTJ/ISTJ, but I really think that all depends on what mood I’m in. 😉 It kind of helps to understand why I do certain things or act a certain way. Keep in mind, however, that I don’t let those personality types define me. And, speaking of personality types, that’s tonight’s topic. Gosh, I sound like a t.v. show host. 😛

determine your characters personality typeBut let’s get to the point. Mirriam Neal told me a while back that she liked to determine her character’s personality types early on in the writing process. That’s what I remember anyway. 😉 I could be wrong.

Regardless, it’s worth a shot to determine it. It can set a sort of guideline for how your character should act.

You wouldn’t want a generally quiet, analytic,  seemingly emotionless person to start screaming at someone when they cut a finger while chopping up some veggies, you know? It wouldn’t make sense and would be out of character because they would know it was no one’s fault but theirs and it wouldn’t be a huge deal anyway. Unless, of course, they lost the member.

And you wouldn’t want a very organized person to accidentally misplace a very important file.

Knowing your character’s personality type really helps keep them in character.

So how do you determine their personality type? I just go take a personality test from the perspective of the character in question. 🙂

Here are a few links you might find helpful:

> The Sixteen Personality Types

> Free Personality Test

> Jung Typology Test

> Myers Briggs Test

Let me know how this works out for you. 🙂 Maybe research and write down the different quirks that come with being whatever personality type your character falls under and keep it by your writing place so you can refer to it whenever you find yourself wonder what on earth Suzy should do in this type of situation.

God bless!

Rana

Character Development (Part 4)

Sorry for acquiring the M.I.A. status! I realize I’ve been a bad blog mistress. *hangs head in shame* But I’ve been away a few times and have not had internet access the entire time. So that’s my excuse. 😛 Plus, I’ve been lazy. So that’s two. And without further ado…

Today’s topic pertains as to why your readers should get to know your characters gradually.

Readers should get to know your characters gradually.Because your story needs to be realistic for people to enjoy it. Again, readers need to relate to your charries. Just like real people, characters should not give up all their secrets at once. Every story needs an element to some degree of suspense. Without it, there’s no point in continuing to read, you know?

So let the reader get to know your babies by means of a few different ways (and I’m sure these aren’t all, so feel free to add more in the comments 🙂 ):

1) Foreshadow

This is extremely helpful in peaking a reader’s interest. There are several ways to do this. A few are having the MC’s friend say something pertaining to the secret without spilling the beans. Something like, “Hey, you over it yet?” What would the MC be over? A broken relationship? A death? Some traumatic event?

Another way is to have something happen that might freak out the MC. If their house got burned to the ground when they were young, maybe someone lighting a match could give them a jolt. This one is very subtle and I like it because the reader could pass it up as, “oh, maybe they weren’t expecting that and just got startled.” Then later on, it’s like, “BAM! Bet you didn’t see that coming!”

I don’t know. I’m stupid. Anyway.

2) Have them hold back.

Maybe they are hostile toward someone or some thing because they have bad memories – memories which probably should/could fuel the story.

3) There needs to be a reason they act like that.

This kind of goes in line with the second “method,” so to speak. They behave a certain way toward something, but you can’t just have them act like it for no reason. They’re in a bad mood. Why? They’re depressed. Why? They don’t like a certain fashion. Is it because their ex dressed that way and it brings back painful memories? They don’t want to go to that restaurant. Why?

I hope you see what I’m getting at. 😛

If not, grab a human translator that speaks crazy or something. Or just ask for clarification in the comments.

Note: This not only pertains to your MC, but also to all other characters whether they be friends, allies, or villains.

We’ve got three more parts to this 7-part-character-development series. Hang in there. 😉

God bless!

Rana

Heroes Aren’t All That Super

A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.

Yep, I was watching Batman again. Surprise! I finished The Dark Knight Rises last night about 10:30 ish. I hadn’t been paying attention the first time when I watched it several months ago, so didn’t think it was all that great. But then I watched it again and wanted to push replay.

But I want to focus on the quote above. “A hero can be anyone.” Why does the world think we need some man or woman in a mask and cape to save us? We don’t. We need the broken to stand up and be beautiful so others know that they can rise to that level no matter how many pieces have been chiseled away.

I think people are like blocks of stone. We crack. We break. Pieces fall off. But I think God allows those things to happen so that we can be His beautiful sculpture in the end. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you would probably agree with me that hard things make people better.

We step out of our comfort zones to grow.

Recently (I think the last year or so), I’ve decided to start complimenting random strangers. You wouldn’t believe how amazing it makes me feel and sometimes they’ll let you know how much of an impact those kind words had on them.

> Hey, that shirt looks great on you!

> Oh, my gosh, that color really goes well with your skin tone.

> Not to be a total creeper, but you are flipping gorgeous.

> Hey, um, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are so pretty — not to be a weirdo or anything.

> You have such a lovely personality! I feel like you’d be a fun person to have as a friend.

> You have such a nice face. I just had to let you know.

> Your eyes are so pretty!

Most of the time, people just smile, laugh, and say thanks or maybe they don’t care. But sometimes, they’ll just kind of laugh quietly and stare at you, touched. Then they’ll say, “I needed that so much right now. Thank you.” Or, “Aw, that made my day!”

And that’s one of the most rewarding experiences ever. It makes me so happy inside.

It makes me wonder if I was their personal Batman, you know? Maybe I was their hero for that day, that moment. Maybe later in their lives, they’ll look back and be happy again because of those kind words. Maybe I gave them hope. Not all the teenagers these days are thugs. 😛

It doesn’t take much to take two steps to the side or go running down an aisle, chase down some random customer, and tell them you think they’re gorgeous. Just a few seconds of courage and adrenaline (although the latter is optional). And who cares what they think of you? You did your part.

Batman wasn’t always loved for the good things he did. People believed lies about him and that’s okay. He did the right thing. He did what he had to do. Whether the citizens cared or not, loved him or not, believed him or not, he was their hero. Also, keep in mind that Batman wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. But he learned from them and grew. It’s the same with all superheroes. Except Superman. Superman’s perfect. *cringe*

Go out and be someone’s hero today. Help someone across the street, do the dishes for your mom (or give Alfred the day off 😉 ), compliment a stranger.

Go ahead. Be a hero. Ditch the mask and cape. We’ve already got enough of them. Being a hero is doing the small, good things in life. You don’t need to change the whole world to be one.

God bless!

Rana