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Building Composite Characters — Part II

May 23, 2008

You’ve taken bits and pieces of your life and others who might make good book or story characters, and you’ve created a composite character. Now, let’s give him or her a story in which to shine. 

Imagine five things your character does well. Write them down.

Now imagine the three most likely emotional states in which your character will be. Write them down. 

Finally, imagine three situations or circumstances that will cause your character conflict, either within themselves or in the world. Write them down.

Take some of the information you’ve just learned about your character, and develop a story around your character’s emotions, motives, thoughts, feelings and actions. Make it a short story—one situation, one conflict, one resolution (or lack of resolution). Populate your story with verbs that describe your character’s inner world, feelings, attitudes. Give us a physical description of your character, which includes not only facial or bodily appearance—and clothing—but also facial and bodily expressions, the way your character moves.

Just write the story, of about 500 to 1,000 words. Bring your composite character to live. See if it is a character you can use in more stories—or books.

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