A while back, i wrote a post about creating realistic characters. In it, i linked to an article containing 51 questions to help you better know your characters. (If you’re interested in those questions, click the link above.)
One of the questions was extremely helpful: “How would they describe their life in 140 characters?”
This is helpful for several reasons.
First, it forces you to narrow down the characters wishes and desires and goals as narrowly as possible.
Second, it allows you to determine what is most important to the character and write about those things.
Third, it makes your character more compelling. We all have eight million things we’re interested in and do, but we definitely focus on some things more than others. When your character is involved in eight million things, it might be “realistic,” but it detracts from the story. Stories need a narrow focus to be compelling.
With that said, allow me to share my (no more than) 140 character summaries for my five main characters in my current work-in-progress–Switched.
Conspiracy theorist. Government uses hospitals to switch parents and kids. Proof is that he and his dad are so different. Searching.Nick Vintner, Jr.
Nick’s younger brother. Longs for peace between brother and father. Loyal to a fault, but he finds Nick’s views foolish.Greg Vintner
Inherited his father’s business (and also his values). Wants Cameron to be loyal to him. Fears the loss of his lifestyle.Zack Pediske
Kidnapped by traffickers at six. In love with Destiny. Plotting for freedom.Cameron Dobson
Loves his sons. Misses Annaliese. Often lonely.Nicholas Vintner, Sr.
How would you summarize your characters’ lives in 140 characters or less? Maybe start by trying to summarize your own life that concisely?
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.