Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Author's Check List for Characters

I’m about 25,000 words in to a new novel. I’ve never used so many main characters before, 5 teens this time, and it’s been challenging to keep things straight. Here’s one of my check lists to stay consistent:
1) Keep subplots evenly spaced.
2) Keep each character’s emotional arc flowing.
3) Make each scene come alive through the viewpoint of the character with the most to lose.
4) Don’t name emotions – show instead of tell.
5) Interact with setting.
6) Give each character distinctive quirks, mannerisms, etc., to help them stick in readers’ minds.
7) Make my characters change and grow in response to the various situations.
8) Keep those situations real, exciting, suspenseful.
9) Show characters’ self-images whether true of false.
10) Give the protagonist and antagonist concrete goals, direction, and action.