More than just Volocio out here…

Posts tagged “How to Write a Damn Good Novel II

On How to Put Together a Character Biography…

So while reading books by James N. Frey, I came a crossed my favorite
bit of advice on character building that I would like to share with
you today.First off, creating a character bio has turned out to be a huge help
for me.  I thought I knew my characters.  I had been around them for
over a decade, I know them so well. And yet, when I started on their
bios, I actually learned even more about them!
It’s all very exciting.
So I wanted to share the three dimensions in creating your character
bio thanks to Mr. Frey:
1.      Physiological – This has to do with what your character looks like.
Age, weight, shape, appearance, whatever.  Even if it may not be
useful in the story, put it in there.  Because society shapes a
person’s personality based on their appearance.  Here are some
examples that he uses:
“Where would Jim Thorpe have been, for example, had he been born with
a club foot? or Marilyn Monroe, had she turned out flatchested? Or
Hank Aaron, had he had a withered arm? Or Barbra Streisand, a small
voice? Obviously, not only would their choices of profession have been
affected, but their personalities would have been shaped differently
as well. A small man cannot “throw his weight around” as a large man
can. Pretty or ugly, short or tall, thin or fat—all of these physical
traits affect the way a character would have developed, just as such
physical traits affect real people.”
2.      Sociological – This concerns the society that your character grew
up in.  Where did they go to school? What were their parents like?
What were their parents views on politics, sex, or money? Did they
even have parents? If not, where did they grow up and what was the
overall atmosphere in that place?  This also helps shape your
character in the same way that it helps shape a real human being.
3.      Psychological – This last dimension is a culmination of the other
two.  As a result of their appearance and societal upbringing: what
makes them tick? What are their fears? Desires? Fantasies? Phobias?
IQ? Special Talents or Soundness of Reasoning?
Frey also advices writing a character journal.  This means writing a
journal in the voice of your character.  This is said to be helpful in
creating a villain.  This will help you find their voice and they even
reveal some odd skeletons from their closet that you didn’t think
about.
Like I said, it has helped me tremendously even though I have been
surrounded by these characters for well over ten years.  They are
still surprising me today.
Anyway, I hope you guys found this helpful!
Until next time!