Today’s concentration is on developing your characters. In Book in a Month, Dr. Schmidt does this through three different worksheets: A Character Story Sketch, a Character Snapshot, and Character-Revealing Scenes. Each one builds on one another so that when you are done, you have a full characterization of the character you are working on. I’m going to work on this one here in my blog, because characterization often comes to me naturally, and I don’t often sketch out my characters before I write. It’d be nice to share the experience with you. 🙂
So, here we go!
CHARACTER STORY SKETCH
Story Title: Ismene
Character Name: Ismene
Age: Start 11, Middle 13, End 15ish?
Height: I don’t care.
Education: She’s a royal Greek girl, so it’s pretty good — as far as female Ancient Greek Education goes
Job: Being a princess
Style of Dress: Chiton and jewelry. Spoiled in jewelry.
Distinguishing marks: Green eyes like her mothers, a lighter appearance than her sister, Antigone.
Favorite Things (This lists stuff like music, food, color, pastime and entertainment…which doesn’t really go with my time period)
Just the Facts:
Hobbies: Being a princess, playing with her dolls, collecting jewelry
Family Secrets: Though not really a secret, Ismene and her siblings are the children of their own brother. They are recovering from this scandal.
Worst Fear: That she will somehow end up lonely in her life, and betray her family like her mother and father did
Greatest Hope: That she’ll find happiness and people will overlook her unfortunate birth
Skills: She’s a princess…she has people to do things for her.
Prized Possession: Agathe, her doll and her mother’s necklace
Vulnerability: Easily persuaded, bound to the loyalty to her family
Regrets: That she lost her mother, that she lets her father go
General Outlook: Grim. The family is doomed to their fate of never finding happiness. They fight all of the time. The kingdom is not secure. She has no prospects other than getting old and dying.
Describe the first impression your character makes: Ismene is very young at the beginning of the book, so she’s very much the victim of circumstances that were beyond her control.
Describe how and why other characters view this character: I think it depends on the character. Her family protects her, since she’s the baby of the family, but at the same time, the people of Thebes scorn her just as they scorn the others for being abominations under the gods.
Describe what this character needs to learn by the end of the story: What family loyalty really is compared to loyalty to one’s self
Describe how you will foreshadow this ending in the story’s beginning: By showing the family’s original dynamic and how they all interact with each other in comparison to how Ismene handles herself as the youngest and most innocent of the group.
Well, that’s the first worksheet. I don’t want to show much more, since buying the book is probably more productive than my telling you about it! I will say, though, that your Character Snapshot deals more with vitals, psychology, accomplishments, motivations, and character arcs, and the last sheet should be scenes that reveal your characterization.
Happy writing today!