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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Give Them A Childhood

Reading through my favorite books this week I found a theme. A really weird theme. Something I'd never noticed at all.

Every single character I love mentions their childhood. They don't exist in vacuum.

Sam Vimes talks about the gang he was with and dead rat conkers. Mercy talks about being a coyote in a wolf pack growing up. Beka talks about shopping with her mother and slipping a slug into someone's salad. All of these characters then become someone who was a child.

We understand them a little better. We're reminded that they once had other dreams and duties. We find another level of connection with the character.

Having a past makes a character interesting. So while you're busy writing the next Great American Novel, think back. What quirks does the character have? What memories from childhood bubble out at unusual times? What mile markers do we see in their life? Why do they love that one thing they love so much?

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