Last week, we talked about Pixar’s Rule #6, where the gurus of amazing stories tell us to not only pit our characters against a polar opposite, but also challenge them with stuff they don’t know about. If you missed out on that post, go ahead and read it along with the comments. I’ll wait.
A point that came up that I think warrants an entire blog post (don’t worry, it’s short) is this:
KNOW YOUR CHARACTER
It seems like a no-brainer, right? I mean, of course, I know my character. For crying out loud, I birthed him! He crawled out of my head and fingers over the past four years as I struggled to figure out how to write a novel. Don’t you think I’d know him by now?
Well, maybe not.
M. G. Mason of Sweat, Tears and Digital Ink dredged up an old post of his with a list of character questions. And though I could answer most of them for my character off the top of my head, some of them I couldn’t. Here’s one:
What is your proudest achievement?
To tell you the truth, I’ve been thinking about what could be Andreu’s proudest achievement and I can’t say. Is it when he saved those girls from a slow, pointless death? Or is it every time he stands up for the down-trodden? (Yes, he’s that way.) Or will it be when he saves his family in some future book that I may or may not write?
Here’s another hard one:
What would be worse than being dead?
Actually, that’s not too hard, but the list is just too long. The blood of his family on his conscience would be really bad, but so would be losing his love-interest or anyone else he cared for. Also, losing his father’s respect can be devastating to someone like Andreu, but worse than death? I guess not.
These are the sorts of things I don’t know about my character. I need to focus my attention on him and pin-point what it is that makes Andreu tick, then maybe I can figure out how to tell his story.
Anyway, M. G.’s questions really gave me pause so I thought I’d share before moving to the next rule.
Until next week, get to know your characters. 🙂