One of the activities I love most about writing fiction is working on characterization. By the time I finish, I know everything there is to know about the people in my stories.
I know their sun signs, where they were born, and when. I know how they look and how they move. If they have quirks, I know about those, too. Eventually, I might have several single-spaced pages of information about each one of them and how they are all related.
By knowing as much about them as I can create, I know how they would react in the event of a crisis, what makes them laugh or cry, even to the type of food they eat.
In Shadowy Tales, I know that Pastor Fran relies on preparing a quick grilled cheese with some heated up soup because she would never think about cooking a full-on dinner. She is too busy and has been single too long to think much about preparing food. But she does love Chinese take-out, and she drinks lots of tea or coffee.
I also know that she drives a red Miata and that she does yoga, but you never see that in her story. Just knowing that about her gives her a certain personality. Who knows? It might come in handy in another story sometime.
If you are thinking about writing but you aren’t sure where to begin, try inventing a character and write out everything you can think about that person. Suddenly you begin to get ideas of the kind of story you want to write.
After you have written characterizations for a bunch of people, throw them all together and see what happens! Trust me – they’ll begin to act in ways you never dreamed of. And your story begins to take place. I’d rather play with characterization than watch TV or go to a movie!
If you have read Shadowy Tales, what else do you know about Pastor Fran – or any of the other characters?
A hui hou!