Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Character Traits

Over the weekend my fellow Melt-Ink Potter, Colleen, and I had a chance to attend a plotting workshop put on by Mark Buckham. If you have a chance to ever attend her workshops - do it. Or pick up her book, Break Into Fiction.

One of the exercises we did in the workshop was to list character traits and then to look at them in different ways. We were asked if a person was X, what else might that mean.

For example, if your character is punctual - what might that mean? Rigid, obsessive, controlling? Or could also say that means they're considerate, driven, task-oriented.

We participated in an exercise where we wrote down characteristics for at least two characters in a project (she asked people to write down at least 3 characteristics for each). The papers were collected and redistributed. The person that now had your list, needed to do the exercise above and say what that characteristic might mean about that person.

I had listed 'driven' for a character. The response I received back - scared.

Wow! I had never even considered that my character was scared. But then it made other things click into place. Unfortunately I don't have my notes with me or I'd give you more examples (another post perhaps...). The exercise certainly challenged us to look at traits in different ways, both positive and negative


Sheila said...

That's a cool exercise -- maybe we, as a group, should try it sometime?

Samantha said...

I think that's a great idea.