Updated: Aug 1, 2018
Well, that's right! It's time for another #HopefulReality moment.
For today's focus I will be chatting about developing #characters.
As a writer, when the ink hits the page or, for modern times, the fingers press the keys us writers enter an unknown phenomenon: THE BOX. Yes, I said it, THE BOX. Now, I am not saying we are boxed in...well, maybe, but not the way it sounds.
Why? That is a very good question. Very simple, in the confines of THE BOX your characters are free to do whatever, and be whoever you have created them and developed them to be! The BOX or characters' ETERNITY is #limitless for the characters...as long as you have done your job of preparing their environment to be as such.
Let's say Jacko DerFrok from Gotunli, a world in the distant galaxy of L4 off of the Jorbo Quadrant, which is roughly 4.68 light years away from present day Earth (if you hyper jump from Saturn's north polar axis and catch the nearest worm hole 2 light years away)...
Anyway, Jacko DerFrok is starting to experience some unusual changes to his molecular structure. Not too certain why, but he believes it has something to do with the new cargo freight that's been docking at the construction site of the inner-world exchange being built by President Farlic's latest bill implementation. He noticed that ship coming in very late after the half moon cycles with shipments of Heronium particles (highly explosive and radio active material).
So, sounds like an interesting situation, right? Sure! for the most part. However, there is a lot missing from Jacko's ETERNITY or THE BOX in which he can "play and develop."
For starters, how does he know so much about the cargo freight, or how does he know it is carrying Heronium particles (only Class 4 Engineers are able to get close enough to the docking ships to get that type of information)?
Or, why does he even care and what type of changes is he experiencing in his molecular structure, and why does it bother him? Also, who is President Farlic and why is Jacko keeping up with his political campaign? And just because I'm on a role here with the questions: What is so important about the world, Gotunli, that it is getting it's own inner-world exchange (only Level 9 worlds have those rights, but it is a Level 6), and what else is going on in the L4 Galaxy; who is delivering those cargo freights and why; and why are they delivering highly explosive and radio active material to a settlement colonization with very little nano-nuclear facilities for testing and tech development? Why the Jorbo Quandrant any way, there is only asteroids and dead planets only a few hundred clicks away? It's a perfectly harmless sector!
So what did we just find out?
Well, Jacko could be a Level 4 Engineer working on the inner-world exchange, he could also be suspicious of President Farlic and his true political agenda. His molecule structure is doing weird things that has him very uneasy, but it is not clear as to what is happening. We also learned that Gotunli is not the best location for nano-nuclear material used for tech development and possible weapons development of an explosive nature.
Also, we have learned that President Farlic might be up to no good...or is he really behind these cargo freight drop offs after the half moon cycles? There exist planets or world classified as Levels 1-9 that we know of. Lastly, Gotunli is a settlement colony surrounded by asteroids and dead planets and is considered to be in a harmless sector near the L4 Galaxy.
As writers we must make sure our characters have a background and not just any back story, A DARN GOOD ONE! Their back story has to be so amazing that it fuels their development and growth for ETERNITY (meaning the life of the story in which they are in or could be in, or maybe have been in). Meaning, the better information you have in your character's history the more space they have to play in THE BOX!
The best way to do this is to just take the #time to #think your characters through. Some writer's do this all at the very beginning before they write. Some do a great deal of background creation then start writing and when they reach a decent stopping or resting point, they do more development and then keep on writing. And yet still, some writers develop their characters AS THEY ARE WRITING (that takes some guts I tell you! Some real GUTS!). That's what I call walking on the wild side.
I recommend developing your characters at the very beginning if at all possible, or developing them as much as you can then writing, and then doing some more development once you reach a good place in the story to stop. I actually prefer this method more than the first one to be honest. I find that it allows me to "observe" my characters behavior and how they react and take to different situations and events as they continue on their journey in the story. Now, all this #backstory and #history is primarily for you, the writer, and you can dish it out to your audience at whatever pace you feel is best for a great story.
Keep in mind though, the faster you dish out the backstory the more the reader will know upfront, but that also means you can potentially run out of information sooner. The slower you reveal it the longer you keep your audience in the dark (which could possibly cause you to lose some of your audience who are not very patient) but it also means you have a slow pace story line that can drag on. That's not very good for building an audience of faithful readers.
I recommend finding a middle ground: reveal the backstory slow enough to develop your character and tell your story, but fast enough to keep a steady pace and your audience engaged.
Development and Background is key! These are the fuels that keep your characters playing in THE BOX, in their ETERNITY! The more fuel the better!
Now, go forth and conquer! I hope this helps you become great authors!
Stay tuned for more #HopefulReality.
Next, I'll write about some good things to include in your background that can make for ridiculously AMAZING character development!