IT’S ALL ABOUT CHARACTER—Beyond the Basics© Lesson 5
By Carol Henry
LESSON 5: Character’s background—education and personal/private life.
In this lesson we’re going to delve into your character’s teenage years to young adult.
• Where did your character go to high school?
• What extracurricular activities did they participate in—sports, band, chorus, etc.?
• Did they win awards?
• What high school friends/enemies did they interact with?
• Did your hero/heroine meet in high school? And how does this impact on your story?
• Did your character go to college? If so, where?
• What collegiate extracurricular activities did they participate in—sports, band, chorus, etc.? Did they win awards?
• What college friends/enemies did they interact with?
• Did your hero/heroine meet in college? And how does this impact your story?
• Did he/she do graduate work? Earn a MS or PhD?
• Was your character a work-study student? Worked his/her way through college? Or get a free ride (scholarship)?
• Did he/she receive any other kind of job/career training in addition to or other than college?
• Perhaps your character attended a training school, or was self-taught?
• Where does your character currently live (city, town, country) in a house, an apartment, co-op, or a condo?
• What state, city, town and section of the community does he/she live?
• Describe the community—is it a small cozy neighborhood, or a hive of activity and diversity.
• How does your character react to his/her surroundings?
• Is he/she there by choice? Job? Family?
• Where would he/she rather live?
• Does your character have hobbies? Interests? (does he/she like to listen to music, hike, skydive, paint, write, etc.
• Is your character an animal lover, an outdoorsman/woman, traveler, historian, etc.?
• What causes do you characters champion?
Tip of the Day: We are starting to see ways in which your character’s Internal Conflicts are forming that may cause stumbling blocks that hold your character back from achieving his/her goal. Identifying these now will give you an idea of what ‘motivates’ your character to act and react the way he/she does.
HOMEWORK—LESSON 5: In working with your character’s education and personal/private life criteria listed above, delve into your characters’ life as they’ve gone through the transition of teenager to adulthood. What might have happened that still resonates with him/her and makes them react the way they do to situations they might run into during the course of their story. We’re continuing to build a stronger character who can withstand (or not) whatever comes his/her way in your story. So, using the suggestions above, create your character’s educational and growing years, and what makes him/her into the wonderful (or not so nice) person they are becoming today. Feel free to share when you’re ready.
Note: Lesson 6 will focus on your character’s career, if they have one, (as defined by the era in which they are living) and how it might play into your story line.
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