{discover.play.build.} fears

You can understand a lot about a person when you know their fears. Fictional characters are no exception. Last year the compulsion to write a YA novel struck at the same time as Laurie Halse Anderson’s Write Fifteen Minutes a Day (WFMAD) challenge. (Lucky me since I had no idea how to go about writing a YA novel.)

One of the prompts was to complete a questionnaire for a character. One of the sections of the questionnaire was FEARS. As I was getting to know one of the characters, I stumbled across this portion of the prompt and was floored by what it revealed, both about the character I was working with and the main character and the story. As I began listing questions, they mostly stemmed from wanting to know more about the fears.

Here is part of the notebook entry from that WFMAD prompt (August 2010):

Ahh, look at the edges of this notebook, it is really beat up and used and worn. I love it when a notebook looks like this. So much better than pristine.
In April I finished the first draft of this story. As I was letting it “cool off” a little in order to reread then roll up my sleeves for hefty revision, I began playing with new characters. One of the first things I considered were the characters’ fears. Here is a list about that character I mentioned the other day — the one I let run away because I didn’t like her enough to spend massive amounts of time writing about her life.
Today I’m going to write about Sophia’s fears. I’m going to answer some of the questions I have like:
  • What makes her so close to her parents but keep everyone else at a distance?
  • Why is she afraid of having a close friend?
  • Why doesn’t she like her sister’s boyfriend?
  • How does her BFF feel about her distance?

How about you? What are you going to {discover.play.build.} in your notebook today? Also, this prompt can easily be converted to something more personal. It doesn’t have to be fictional characters…it can be about your own fears. Or you can play a little and just make something up…even if you don’t have any plans for it to go anywhere. It’s fun to imagine and make things up every now and then.

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1 Comment »

  1. I played with a fictitious character in my notebook today. After rereading, I discovered I based the character on myself and my fourth grade students! I don't know if it was because your post was about a character's fears, but that was the hardest one to think of. Thanks for sharing!