Cheat Sheet for Creating Characters

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Cheat Sheet for Creating Characters

Post  MzM on Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:04 pm

Characters:
Do your characters have desires?
Are your characters distinctive enough not to be types?
Do your characters have contrasting traits that make them complex?
Are your characters consistent despite their contrasting traits?
Do your characters have the ability to change?
Do you know your characters well enough?
Are the right character "round" or are they ''flat"?
Are you showing your characters more than telling about them?
Are you utilizing all four methods of showing---action, speech, appearance, thought?
Do your characters have the right names?

Plot:
Do you have a major dramatic question?
Do you have a protagonist with a goal and plenty of obstacles?
Do you have a beginning, middle, and end?
Does your conflict escalate?
Are the events of your middle linked by cause and effect?
Do you have crisis, climax, and consequences at the end?
Is your ending plausible, satisfying, and not too long?

Point of View:
Does your story work best in first, second, or third person?
Does your story work best with a single-vision or multiple-vision POV?
Is there any reason your story might work best with the omniscient or objective POV?
If you are using second or third person narrator, how close is the narrator to the
characters emotionally?
Are you keeping the POV consistent?

Description:
Are your descriptions utilizing all five senses?
Are tour descriptions specific enough?
Are you overusing adjectives or adverbs?
Are you using figurative language and lyrical techniques where appropriate?
Are your descriptions overdone, choking your story?
Are you using telling details?
Are you watching out for such description traps such as clich├ęs and mixed metaphors?
Do your descriptions reflect the consciousness of your POV character or characters?

Dialogue:
Are you using dialogue and scenes for the more important points in the story?
Does your dialogue sound real yet also get the point quickly?
Do your tags call too much attention to themselves?
Do you characters sound distinctive from one another and appropriate to who they are?
Is there anywhere your dialogue can be improved by using subtext?
Does your dialogue contain clunky exposition or off-putting dialect?
Setting/Pacing:
Have you grounded your story in a specific place, or places?
Have you grounded your story in a specific time, or times?
Do the place and time of your story affect the action?
Are there opportunities to let the setting enhance the atmosphere or mood?
Do your characters act in a way that reflects either their comfort or discomfort with their
setting?
Are you describing your settings so much that they slow down the action?
Have you chosen the right places either to expand to expand or to compress time?

Voice:
Have you picked a voice that works in harmony with your POV choice, the personality of
your narrator, and the narrator's emotional distance to the story?
Do your word, sentence, and paragraph choices support your voice?
Does your voice remain consistent throughout the story?

Theme:
Have you identified a theme for your story?
Does your theme surround your story with a light enough touch?
Do all the elements of your story work to support the theme?

Revision:
Have you gotten enough distance from your story to begin the revision process?
Have you considered re-envisioning your story?
Have you looked through a magnifying glass at all the Big Things in your story?
Have you looked through a microscope at all the Little Things in your story?
Have you cut and tweaked as much as you possibly can?
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MzM

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