Saturday, January 06, 2007

Elizabeth Lyon's Character development questions

eye.jpgThis is from A Writer's Guide to Fiction (Writer's Compass) by Elizabeth Lyon which looks like a very good writing guide. It covers characterization, plot, pacing, and theme as well as revising, marketing and samples of cover and query letters -- which makes it sound much like most writing guides ;-). But a reviewer (Catherine Tudor) wrote "Reading Elizabeth Lyon's, A Writer's Guide to Fiction, is like taking a college course on writing. I can't recommend it highly enough for those who write any form of fiction whether it be short stories or novels. Her experience as a writing teacher and independent book editor shows in her thoroughness, conciseness, thoughtfulness and clarity." It's on my next to read list.

Character Development: Questions

Goals : What was most important to your character at age five, fifteen, nineteen, and at the age at which the story or novel begins?

Motivation : What were your character's deepest longings at various ages? Which singular longing has been with him or her since childhood?

Positive Trait : What qualities in your character are he or she most proud of? What would friends say is your character's most shining quality?

Negative Trait : What is your character's greatest weakness and worst personality trait? What would friends say is his or her biggest weakness?

Nickname : What were your character's nicknames? Why was he or she called them?

Self-Concept : What words would be inscribed on your character's headstone that best capture the way he or she would like to be remembered? Example: He was a friend to all.

Fear : What is your character's greatest fear? When did he or she first feel it?

Trauma : What was the most traumatic experience in your character's life?

Secret : What disclosure about your character or his or her actions would your character do almost anything to keep from becoming public knowledge?

Power : When the chips are down, what is your character's greatest "weapon," the ace up his or her sleeve?

Adversaries : What person(s) have most blocked your character's success

Allies : Who can your character count on during life's highs and lows?

Darkest Hour : What were the lowest points in your character's childhood, teens, twenties, thirties, and so forth? Times when he or she thought they might not be able to go on living?

Shining Moments : What were the high points of your character's childhood, teens, twenties, thirties, and so forth? Times when he or she figured they had it made?

Legacy : What message does your character want the world to hear? What would he or she like to leave behind as a gift to others?
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