Don’t Try This At Home – Go Outside

As stated several times this week, there will be no blog posts next week on account of our university graduation! Also despite what Jon’s post yesterday says, he was the one to write it: I just put up a placeholder as there were internet issues and so on and so forth.

Following on from Jon’s post yesterday about looking at things and making the ordinary extraordinary, here’s a little secret to help you with your characters. As Jon said, go outside. I’ll wait. Heck, load this page on a smartphone if you’re that way inclined. For the sake of argument just assume that you left at this point. Go to a public place with lots of people, such as a shopping centre, park or brothel and just wait. Look at the people around you. Don’t stare, that’s rude. Try to look for someone interesting. When you’ve found someone, memorise how they look and go home. What’s their story? Are they out Christmas shopping? Do they fight crime on the side? What is it about them that made you pick them over the other hundreds of people? Go ahead and make up an entire story about them without being mean. Don’t write it, just use your imagination. Defining just what would or could make a person interesting fuels the very essence of character-building.

What about your characters? Would someone be able to guess what they’d been through if a stranger glanced at them while blindly following orders given by a blogger on the internet? Is the answer what you’d hoped? If your character is a public superhero or ‘people person’ then yes may be your preferred answer. If they’re an undercover detective, then no. What I’m getting at is one very overlooked detail about your characters is how other people perceive them, which is ironic considering that in reality, that’s something people tend to worry about too much. Take a moment to step back and view your characters from an outside perspective. It’s hard, especially since every fact and whim about them is embedded in your mind, but you’ll thank yourself for it later.

We hope you have a nice week, don’t miss us too much!

– Craig


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