Character Building

The plot versus character debate has raged for years – i.e which is most important.  Personally, I always felt they were on equal footing but I’ve since realised that I haven’t been putting my belief into practice.  When writing my short stories, I have been putting all my focus on storylines rather than the characters.  I guess it is more difficult to develop characters for short stories;  after all, the reader is not going to stick with them for long.  However, I learned a lesson from an unlikely source.  I have been reading the authorised biography of Brendan O’Carroll (of Mrs Brown fame) and he relayed a piece of advice he learned from somewhere – write a character synopsis of around 20 pages long (per main character) to really get to know your characters.  I don’t think I will be adopting this method for my short story characters but today I started this process for my novel characters.  I still have a long way to go but I feel it will help.  At this stage, I am still working on my short story development rather than a novel but I don’t feel it will do any harm to set the foundations.  If anything, it is giving me experience of character building, both for my novel and my own personal development 🙂

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