Character Sketch: Choices.

Join us, or die!

Last post discussed character interview questions. This post is about the second part of my writing process, and that is choice. Life is all about making choices. Up, down, left, or right? The characters in my book need to be just as real as I am. I believe that what makes a good character is the choices they make. For instance, I had to sit down and decide to write about my creative process, you in turn had to make a choice whether or not to read it. Whereas the interview questions I use are on a document and designed to fit almost all characters, the choices I offer them differ depending on what I am writing for. I do however keep a list and pull from it regularly. The following are some of my most used.

  • Your love dies or the world dies. (This is a main theme in many films.)
  • Give up your dreams, or give up your love. (Chick Flicks.)
  • You can get away with a crime, do it, or do not. (The decision between right and wrong.)
  • Easy path or hard path. (Hero’s Journey.)

You’ll notice that these are some of the plots of your favorite super hero movies.  You can see now how the interview questions give us the basis for our character, and how the choices we give them show us their heart and soul. This doesn’t mean that just because they choose the easy path that they can’t be the hero of our stories. Our characters can have a good heart with bad intentions. As I talked about in my last post, this is why I love the creative writing process so much. Once I have a general idea of the character, then there is no limit to who they can become.

Now to the story. I promised in my first post that I will take what we have talked about and create a short story from it. I will use my interview and choice set up to decide where the story goes. After I post this blog I will begin on the story. I am basically going to do a quick first thing that comes to mind kind of story. I’m not going to try fill it with a bunch of literary flair, just a basic story to give you the idea of how the character comes to be. Since I have an idea of the questions and choices I normally use, I don’t always use a character sketch for short stories. If any of you would like, I can do a mock up and make it available.

D.B. Flint


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