This past Saturday, I attended my second Christian Writers’ Club meeting. The guest speaker was Michele Chynoweth, who has written and published two novels and has a third one currently in publishing.
She explained that she writes modern Bible stories and that The Faithful One is based on the Book of Job and The Peace Maker is based on the story of Abigail. I purchased both books and she autographed them for me.
She spoke about building character in our stories. She talked about how important our characters are because they are what connects the reader to your story. They make the reader feel.
Ms. Chynoweth encouraged us to allow the reader to make his/her own judgments rather than stating character traits directly, which, she explained, is part of the “show, don’t tell” mantra.
At the end she gave us a handout that includes 85 Character Development Questions for Writers. I won’t post them here, but I will give you the acrostic she gave us:
Communication: How does your character talk and sound?
History: Where does your character come from?
Appearance: What does your character look like?
Relationships: What kind of family and friends does your character have?
Ambition: What is your character’s passion, goals, needs?
Character defect: Flaws make your character real.
Thoughts: How does your character thnk?
Everyman-ness: Your character needs to be relatable and believable.
Restrictions: Your character has to deal with a challenge, weakness, handicap
Those are some of the things to consider when creating your characters in your writing.
I have never been fond of writing outlines, but Michele Chynoweth shared how important it is to be able to keep track of your characters so that you are consistent and don’t make errors. She told of how she had once created a minor character and hadn’t made a note about him and one place had written about his dark hair and later said “he ran his hand through his sandy blonde hair”. So, she said, even the little guys are important. Therefore, I will at least keep a notebook about all of my characters, even if I don’t do an actual outline.