The Inner Life of Your Character
These are the notes from my Character Development class , week 6
One must try to write the character to where the reader can
-relate to the them
-knows someone like them
Outer life vs Inner life
Outer life- it is more the physical description, the surface details of one’s characters
Inner life-this tells the reader what the character is about
Works of fiction is bringing intimacy to the pages. As writers it is our job to foster that which will help
fast forward our characters. We are in charge of creating a character it is not for our readers to do that.
Writers tend to stop with the basic character description without giving them life. Is the dialogue
believable? In the speaking one can give more details of our characters. The reader when reading must
feel our characters are real or could be real live people that they can come across in the street. You need to cover every aspect of their lives, go the extra mile when dissecting them.
Imagine them as being your heroes that you had growing up. What did you look up to them, what was it about them that made you want to be like them? Use this for your villain and hero if you can.
Conversation focus- By observing what they talk about. Can you get a vivid image of what they are saying?
Try listening to people talking as you go about your daily activities. Try to really listen for just a minute
Allocation of time- How does your character spend their day. What is their norm and routine? How much time is spent doing each activity? What are their habits? Do they have regrets? Do they hold
grudges? What do they do and why? Do they have any dreams and if so of what? What are their goals?
These are just some of the questions we can ask about our characters to make them less superficial.
Every character needs change in the story but it is recommended to make it slow and gradual instead of
all at once.
A way to kick-start the inner life of your characters is ask some of the questions below
-What makes them afraid and why
-What lead up to this?
-What is important to them?
-What secrets/quirks do they have and why
-Three or four words to describe them
-Are they successful in their endeavors and why
-Do they act one way to some and different to others?
-Are they materialistic?
-Show don’t tell their clothing, how they carry themselves, how they speak and what kind of person they are.
These are just some ways to bring the inner life of your character to the fore front.
Use this with each of your major characters. If you use it for the minor characters, you might derail the story.
I have two more sessions left and this class will be done.