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People plotting: Creating unique characters – Part three

c97ff168b28a89906a2c040f1a18ae0cA good exercise is to invent two characters based on pictures. Creating a facial description is relatively simple, although you also need to determine if the people are tall or short, their body type, approximate age, and so on.

You then need to add as much information as possible about each person – personality, mannerisms, jobs, career path, friends and family, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, hobbies, pets, favourite foods and drinks, what part of the world they live in, the type of house they have or the car they drive, even where they went on holiday last year – in short, anything that makes them come to life. The characters in your stories will also need names, which usually conjure up certain images for the reader. This topic is covered in detail in the first installment of The Children’s Writer’s Guide.

You might then imagine a situation in which the two people you have invented might meet. They could be stuck in an elevator for ten minutes and have to strike up a conversation or have a minor car accident on a deserted road, then have to exchange information. It could be anything, entirely based on whatever you think the characters might be like, from the impression you received from the photographs. Then to make it particularly interesting, at the end, have the two people discover that they have an unexpected connection. They learn that they are long lost siblings, have the same type of dog, are both looking for the same treasure or whatever idea you come up with.

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