Characters at Play.

I read a blog post today about character generation and development, and was reminded of some of my early characters’ shenanigans. I had been reading through a book on novel writing, getting tips where I could and one of the suggestions in this one was to imagine your characters in everyday situations, to have dialogues with them or to imagine dialogues they could have with each other. At the time I was writing a fantasy story where the antagonist carried around a large sword. He had a very tall, stout, sidekick who was more inclined to crush things than use the finesse of his master, but would follow orders implicitly. Having these two characters interact in situations such as supermarket shopping or at the laundrette or even on a visit to the hair dresser often ended with me chuckling and the word ‘chop’ as the protagonist invariably made use of his sword on the poor unsuspecting public, following a brief exchange between the victim and the unlikely pair.

It was a fun way to play with the characters, I’m not sure how useful this was or how much it contributed to their development when writing the book but it can certainly lead to situations you’d never imagine otherwise, and the cross genre setting only added to the fun. It allows you to see your characters as real people and to interact with them in a novel (excuse the pun), yet familiar way, though in my case the situations did tend to veer toward the comedic, even though the book wasn’t a comedy.