Earlier in the year, a writing buddy and I planned to Fast Draft (FD) in the summer. My plan was to FD the women’s fiction wip I’d been working on since fall 2008. Finish it up finally. Well, a month or so before the scheduled FD, I got an idea for an urban fantasy. One of those ideas that stalks you during your waking hours and also disturbs your sleep time. I couldn’t wait to start writing it.
When the FD start date came, I was ready. I’d done a quite a bit of research and had started doing a little world building. I had my heroine’s name and I knew what her did for a ‘living’. I also had a vague idea of how the story would to go and list of things I wanted to happen (I’m a pantster with a weakness for plotting). But most important, I had a song to keep my inspiration level at maximum. I was set to crank out this story.
Fast forward to today. The UF is sitting at 25,000 words. And I won’t be touching it again until next summer.
So what happened?
I didn’t know my heroine as well as I thought. Knowing her current and previous job was fine and dandy, but did little to help me discover the whys and whats of her life. Like why is being honorable so important to her? Or why she wanted to be a warrior? Or what is she trying to prove through her current job? If I had known the answers to these questions and a few others, I would have a rough draft of the story now.
Since putting the story aside, I have spent time getting to know my heroine. For me, that’s opening a blank document and free writing the answers to my why and what questions. When I finish, I have a good idea of the character and what motivates her.
So how do you get to know your characters?