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Audition Your Characters

Test the Characters Emotions Through Free-writing

In a previous letter, you learned how to let your creative right brain turn a quiet voice into a character you could see and hear. Continuing with his development, we can learn what makes the character tick and what pushes his buttons. Give him a few lines of internal dialogue to allow the subconscious to find the same voice, then bring in an unexpected event to test his emotions. We can learn a lot about someone by watching his facial and body reactions to stress, anger, joy, frustration, fear, etc.

Let him choose his emotion with little guidance from you. This is important in order to show his true character. This exercise can be repeated for each emotion--determining what kind of person he is becoming. Think of your own emotions, especially if you're terribly upset and someone says, "Oh, that was nothing, get over it!" Can you? He might not be the person you thought he was going to be, but he will be real. Add a personality oddity to make him more interesting and real. A twitching eyebrow or jawbone might warn someone he is about to lose his temper; or add a limp to his gait that becomes exaggerated when he...? Look around and use people you know. People watching is the number one asset when developing characters that live.

Put him into a bad spot and find out how he handles it. If you stay with your usual genre it will be easier for you. For example, give him a situation that would happen in one of your stories. Perhaps another character walks into the scene and accuses him of cheating to gain a position they both want--such as The Main Character. Some writers develop a story around the characters at this point, and find it a helpful practice.

Audition potential love objects. Testing them to determine who deserves the love of the Main Character could be interesting and creative. Just because free-writing is fun doesn't make it a time waster. Exercising the creative side is important and it really works to make you a better writer.

Thanks for reading,