Does writing make anyone else feel like a schizophrenic? It does me. Then again, my psychiatrist makes me feel that way too. Anyway, as I have been developing a large amount of supporting characters for my book, I often find myself trying to put myself in their shoes.
It starts so innocently. A simple list of character traits. Then I add in a few quirks. Add a small dash of backstory or history. Sprinkle some kind of memorable personality trait that could possibly be developed later. And BOOM! I have my supporting character chef salad.
Now things get crazy, and I am talking clinical. I will stare at my lists and descriptions. I begin to envision the character. I really begin to feel the character. I literally get into character, as if I were an actor taking on a new role.
Then the voices start. Not the ones in my head telling me to shoot BBs at the neighbors kid. The other voices. The ones that come out of my mouth as I start talking like the character. I start to take on accents and mannerisms. I say phrases like the character would. I begin telling my life’s story out loud.
Wait, not my life but the supporting character’s life. This is where I think writers are like actors. To develop good characters one must really understand the character, become the character. Once I know who the character is, it becomes easier to add him or her into the story. I know their mannerisms better than as if I was just reading it.
This is nothing ground breaking for most people out there. I just felt like writing it to mainly explain away the reasons my wife has often thought of committing me. She has often wondered why I am in another room talking to myself in weird voices.
I just say, character development. Then she rolls her eyes and walks away.