NaNo Bootcamp Day 7: What’s Your Sign?

What’s your sign, baby? There are as many ways to talk about characters as there are types of characters. Some people like an archetype approach, some like zodiac, some like exhaustive questionnaires. We’ve already talked about the important stuff. What does the character want? What do they fear? When you’ve figured that out, you’ve got the hard part down. That’s building the creamy center. Because let’s be real. The cream is the best part of the Oreo. The peanut butter is the best part of the Reese’s Cup. The caramel is the best part of a Rolo. Once you get the delicious center cooked up, you simply need to dunk it in melted chocolate and enjoy. (Curse you, sweet tooth.) Please note that I did not say you need to analyze every molecule of the chocolate and account for every bit of sugar and fat and preservatives that go into your character treat. You do not need to know everything that has ever happened to your character, nor their favorite everything, nor what every inch of their body looks like. In fact, I think trying to come up with everything early on can be crippling. I’m currently reading Wired for Story, and Lisa Cron mentions something which I’ve seen referenced in other books on writing. Basically, if you write an exhaustive biography of your character, you’re going to feel like you need to include every detail you’ve created. (Sort of like the common curse of fantasy world-building.) That kind of stuff bogs down the story. If you write an excruciatingly detailed account of your character’s junior prom, then you’ll feel...