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#FirstDraft Planning Day 6: Four Character Building Questions

Monday, January 15, 2018

Today’s story-prep comes from what was Day 6 in the FirstDraft60 process: Four Character Building Questions.

This is really the first time in this process that the tasks haven’t been focused on the more technical aspects of the preparation—getting things set up and in place. Today, I actually spent time thinking about my characters and what’s going on with them just beneath the surface. It’s a good place to get started with character development, as it starts looking at the main characters’ needs and desires, but only in how they relate to the other characters in the story.

Four Character Building Questions
The Four Character Building Questions are:

  1. Whose story am I telling?
  2. How do the secondary/minor characters connect to your viewpoint characters?
  3. What do your viewpoint characters need from the secondary/minor characters?
  4. As your story opens, who is the most important person in your viewpoint character’s life?

Please visit the original post for further details/information.

I haven’t thought much about Eleanor and James since I wrote the idea for their story nearly a year ago. (I was surprised, too, when I looked at the date on which I posted it—January 23, 2017!) I didn’t think I’d be able to write much about them, as the idea didn’t feel like it was fresh in my mind.

I should have known that Madeleine L’Engle is always right, though:

We must work every day, whether we feel like it or not, otherwise when it comes time to get out of the way and listen to the work, we will not be able to heed it (p. 24).

If the artist works only when he feels like it, he’s not apt to build up much of a body of work. Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it, because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work, and to go where it tells you to go. Ultimately, when you are writing, you stop thinking and write what you hear (p. 149, emphasis mine).

I had planned on getting SHAPE started for either James or Eleanor tonight, but I had enough to write/think about with the Four Questions that I ran out of time. So that’s tomorrow’s task!

Four Character Building Questions

Work Cited:

L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1980. Print.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday, January 24, 2018 4:06 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your process. I’m always on board during your #FirstDraft seasons. Seeing how you develop your stories has helped me immensely when writing my own. Your new novel sounds really good. I’m excited for you!:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wednesday, January 24, 2018 4:50 pm

      Thanks, Najeea! It’s been really helpful to me to have the accountability of posting daily (or almost daily) to make myself do the writing tasks daily since it’s not a habit at this point in time.

      Best wishes with your own projects!


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