5 Minutes a Day: Getting to Know Your Characters as Individuals

This week, my 5-minute task has focused on getting to know my main character for the cozy I’m pre-writing.  There’s a lot you can do in just five minutes in terms of developing your character.

Some of getting to know Clara has also helped me start thinking about the plot.  This is a mystery so there’s something to solve.  In this case it is a murder.  As I worked through what Clara’s stake in all of this is, I now know who gets killed, who did it, who gets set up, and who the tricksters are.

But I don’t want two-dimensional characters.  It is especially important that my main character and her best friends (aka The Sidekicks) are each unique especially compared to each other.  So that means I’m doing a lot of fairly simple “get to know my character” exercises including:

Three Wishes:  Clara has discovered a genie’s lamp.  What would she wish for?  Her wishes could include what she would wish to be if nothing stood in her way, what material thing would she want, and what one thing would she banish from existence?

Paint Swatches: What colors does your character choose for her private spaces?  For the public areas of her life? Why don’t do the two coincide?

Dress Up: What does your character wear?  Go beyond style. What colors does she wear?  What outfit does she own but she’s never worn it and why does she hang onto it?

Reading Material: Print books or e-readers?  What is on your character’s coffee table or public book space?  Are these things she’s read?  If not, why has she chosen them? How does this compare to what’s on her bedside table?

These are just some of the exercises I use to get to know my character better. When I am done, not only will I know how she dresses and her home decorating style, I’ll have set up Pinterest boards that highlight her taste.  And the funny thing?  As I’ve been contemplating this, the plot is starting to come together.

5 Minutes Here.  5 Minutes There.  It is all starting to add up.


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