I am going through the process of getting things organized and ready for a rewrite. I basically have two books that need a rewrite, both within the same series, as well as an edit/rewrite of my NanoWriMo novel from November. It’s a lot to do and if you remember, I set a goal to get these things done and be ready to send off my work to editors and all that fun stuff by next year.
365 days seems like a lot of time, until you have something you are trying to get done within that time.
Part of this process is sitting down and really getting to know my characters. I have been searching for character sheets, trying to find one that I was happy with. Nothing suited my fancy. Some needed too much information while others didn’t ask enough. And there were more that asked me questions I didn’t know the answer to.
It made me realize that, while I know my characters, I never sat down to really get into them, to figure out who they really were. I am sure when I reread what I have already written I will find that these characters are flat and too much alike, too much like me. I gave them all the same personality and it was mine.
I ended up creating my own character sheet, full of things I wanted to know about my characters. Once I was happy with the questions I had, I sat down with my characters and I asked them these questions. You know what I found out? The main character of my first novel, while I knew what he looked like, he didn’t have a face in the book. Not once did I mention what color his hair was, his eyes, or even how tall he was! I was missing vital information and I was doing exactly what I had been told not to do.
I was writing a place holder. A person with no detail other than being male or female. I had given his back story, who his parents were and where he went to college, but that was it. You can imagine how excited he was that I was finally asking him about himself. I was asking what his dreams and goals were. Where he wanted to be in 10 years. I was getting to know this character I had created, who had grown all on his own.
It’s amazing how a story can go on without knowing your characters. You get so lost in the story itself that you forget to find out who the characters are. Now that I am finally meeting them, things that take place in the story make so much more sense.