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Monday, 5 October 2015

Characters in a Jar

Recently I posted about how to make a Happiness Jar. If you haven't already started one, now is a great time to create an ongoing source of inspiration for your writing.

How often have you struggled to find an interesting starting point for a character in your short story or novel? You want someone engaging, right, someone you can come to know and (hopefully) understand, someone you care enough to write about.

So here is a neat tip. Randomly choose three slips of paper from your Happiness Jar. These slips will contain something that you wrote down about a happy experience.

You could:
  1. Create a character using the scenes suggested. Unless you are intending to write a memoir, remember that the character is not you - they are just inspired by the experiences you have had. 
  2. Transport the character forwards or backwards in time. Think about how they would respond to this happy experience if they lived a hundred years ago, or some time in the future. 
  3. Imagine what the character would do if they didn't have these happy experiences. Explore how they would feel, what they would yearn for, who they would envy.
  4. How would your character go about seeking out or achieving these experiences? Who would help them? Where would they look? What obstacles would they overcome? Would they be successful or not?
  5. Explore how your character talks about the experience, the longing for it and the sense of pride or anger associated with the search for happiness. Do they sound boastful, wistful, despondent, jubilant, doubtful, curious?

Time to scribble those thoughts down, so happy writing!

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