A Writing Exercise
This was something I read in an article from “On Fiction.” I have not tried this yet, but I might give it a shot this week. It was from a book by Carolyn See.
Carolyn See’s idea for a character list is as follows:
“In Making a literary life: Advice for writers and other dreamers (2002), See proposes an option which entails creating two sorts of lists. The first is a “list of the ten most ‘important’ people in your life… Whom do you love? Who betrayed you? Whom did you betray? Who drives you nuts? Who’s out of your reach? Who’s your role model? Who’s your benchmark for insanity? Quick! Write the list” See, p. 118). Then make another list of “the other kind of important people you know … the ones who gave you the willies. Who creep you out and you don’t know why” (p. 120). Together, she claims, these “are your ‘characters for life'” (p. 121). After this exercise, one is to cast the person before one’s eyes and focus on what one is seeing.”
Anybody doing lists like these? It might be fun!
It’s interesting how See says that these are your characters “for life.” I do find some writers tend to create the same type of character in multiple books. For example, Pat Conroy usually has that abusive (often in the military) father figure.
The article goes on to evaluate See’s ideas in depth.
If you are interested in reading it, here is the link: http://www.onfiction.ca/2009/04/characters-for-life-why-carolyn-sees.html