Creativity can be fickle, striking when you don’t have time for it, and fleetingly far from reach when you do. Know a beginning can take many forms, the first chapter you write will not always be Chapter One. The questions and thoughts below are an effort to provide a starting point for whatever beginning you find yourself creating.
Making your character relatable:
Details matter, planning time to think through your characters personality early on will allow you to build a theme of consistency as they make decisions, and provide insight to their past.
What situation triggers anger?
How do they act in a crowd vs isolated?
Do they have a secret they wouldn’t want people to know?
What habits or mannerisms do they have?
Questions like the these allow you to add detail and feeling to your story and allowing a reader to have an emotional attachment to the writing. Creating a pattern of consistency empowers you to build to a moment where a character would act against their normal cadence. These inflection points can be highlights of change, and shift momentum within a larger tale.
Work has a place in all of our lives, even for the characters we create. Thinking of a profession for your character will guide your creativity as you look to find their place in the greater world. A given profession will help you dictate how they respond in situations that may or may not benefit from their expertise. Even deciding that one does not have a profession has implications on the way they interact and engage with a situation and society.
Expertise allows a unique identifying trait for your character, and adds depth to the experiences they find themselves in. Expertise can directly impact the confidence of your character you are creating. As you build the emotions of your character and how they react, it becomes easier to add detail to clearly show the vision you have for them.
Conflict, Internal & External:
When we think about pivotal moments in our own life, it may often include an internal or external conflict. Where you were battling against yourself, your own intuitions or barriers? Were you at odds with a force outside yourself? Technology or Nature could both be an example of an external force.
How would you describe the impact of the internal or external force?Is this the first the character is facing this obstacle or have they faced and failed before?
Take time to reflect as your character after having written, how does it feel? Is there an opportunity to add that feeling into the writing?
Leveraging personal experience:
Writing what you know can be powerful, think about bringing your experiences into the world you are creating for your characters. This allows you to ask yourself questions such as:
What would I have done differently?
What are the consequences of that outcome?
Who else would it impact?
Ultimately, there will be times where you do none of these things as a writer, nor are they prerequisites to success or quality. These questions are tools to get started, and an opportunity to create work better than you initially thought possible. If you have great literary questions that have helped develop some of your own writing come join us in discord and share them by joining below.