As we gear up for the weekend, let’s see if we can’t start something new.
All this week we have worked on prompts that help us build and perfect scenes. We capped it off with a post all about setting the scene (and learning about the 7th side of the scene cube).
Starting today, I want to focus more on character development. I think that this is the most important aspect of any film, book, TV show or art piece. Without the main subject, you have nothing.
No one wants to read a story that has no characters in it. While we marvel for a moment at your masterfully built scenes and worlds, it won’t last.
Your readers need someone to root for or against.
So, for the next few days, we will focus the writing prompts on character development.
Who knows? Maybe we will have an all-inclusive blog post at the end again. I like that idea, maybe we have just started a thing.
Shall we take a look at the prompt?
Tell us everything you can about your character
If you have a work in progress (WiP), pick a character from it that you don’t know very well. This can be a supporting character, some random NPC on the street, or, even your main character.
If you were like me in the beginning, you may not have developed your MC well enough to really know them.
If you do not have a current WiP, then start from scratch. Make up a new character and use them.
The idea here is to start to develop your character. Flesh them out. Give your character a back story, clothes, a look, maybe even a limp or a missing eye.
You can write out your prompt in paragraph or list form. However you like. And when you are done, introduce your character to the world by posting it in the comment section below the article.
For my prompt, I am introducing a character from one of my old stories, Ghost Target. In a scene that takes place in the farmlands of Texas, we meet a mailman.
He doesn’t have any speaking lines, and he is driving a front loader tractor to deliver the mail on a rural road.
Though he is brave by driving into a hail of bullets from the two assassins, he doesn’t get a name, a line or any back story. Until today.
Here is What I Came Up With
Hector Regala was smuggled into America when he was only 9 years old. Both of his parents were killed in the border crossing and he was sent to live with his aunt.
He failed out of school at the age or 14 and started running drugs for the local gangs to earn a living. After leaving home when he was 15, he set out on a life of crime.
Though he never did anything serious, he thwarted being arrested for breaking and entering and drug dealing multiple times.
To say his life was tough is an understatement and he is the first to tell you there are better ways to grow up.
By the time he was 22, he had finished school and had papers allowing him to live and work in the United States. Though it wasn’t easy for him, he knew he would survive and make his parents proud.
Hector spent the next 7 years working in the mail room. It wasn’t much but it was a legal job and a government one at that.
Eventually he moved up to letter carrier in the small Texas town of Buffalo Gap, where he stayed until retirement age.
When he was 34 he met Antonia and they were soon married. His first son, Paul died at birth and it nearly killed him.
3 years later, though, the twins, Anita and Julio soon gave him reason to live.
He retired at the age of 70, with his wife, two kids, 5 grand kids and a home he built himself on the land his aunt once owned.
Hector Regala died at the age of 87. A fatal heart attack took his life as he lay in his own bed, surrounded by his entire loving family.