How To Write A Story: The Fanfic (part two)

So, when we left of we worked on our beautiful, original plot lines. This time we shall work on making our characters and story summaries just as awesome.

Right. So. Characters.
To get your reader as involved in the story as possible, you need to portray your characters with detail - but, should you give extremely long, lengthy paragraphs on them, your readers will get bored and not bother.
_____So, who ya gonna call?
_____To help sum up your characters while drafting your story, you could create a character sheet. You may see a lot of stories where authors have included character sheets in their story summaries. In my opinion, it isn't necessary, as your job as an author is to portray your characters to your audience.
_____So. A character sheet. First, start of with the basics - name, age, appearance, family, friends. These can be very useful later on for your story, where I always seem to forget less important friends' names.

Name: Siobhan
Age: 18
Appearance: Tall, lanky, blonde hair, blue eyes, wears Green Day shirts and jeans the most.
Family: Lives with both parents, is the middle child of three.
Friends: Lucy, Bob, Frank, Fred and Sally.
Personality: Funny, kind, smart, friendly. Doesn't know what direction she wants to go in life, so spends a lot of time thinking about that.

Now think about your character's personality. Will they be friendly, bubbly and outgoing? Or will they be a brooding, angsty teenager, caged by the restrictions of society?
_____Your choice. :]

Describing your characters
_____Now, here is your time to shine. So how should we describe our character?
_____The key is to make them as interesting as possible. Who wants to hear about some kid where the only thing we know about them is the fact that they have blonde hair and green eyes?
_____Try this: step into your character's shoes. Now, try writing a little section in first person narrative:

Hi, my name's Siobhan. I have blonde hair and blue eyes and my friends sometimes call me vonny. I'm really lanky and I always wear jeans - oh, and my Green Day t-shirt. I finished school recently but I don't know where I want to go. I have two sisters and I live with both my parents.

Doesn't sound like a very good story yet, does it? No, of course not.

Now, describe her, still in first person, and as interesting as possible. Maybe try adding a few verbs in, and make the character do something.

The eighteen years of life I have lived were pretty simple. I lived in a nice house with a nice family, went to a nice school with nice friends and had really awesome cats.

But it was as I looked in the mirror while brushing my shiny blonde locks that I wondered where I was heading in life. Sure, I was going to university... but then what? Even the reflection of my blue eyes seemed to ask me the same question.

Who am I?

As we can see, Siobhan, while although a nice kid, is a little confused about life. This leads the audience to wonder what happens next - why doesn't she know what she wants in life?
_____On a scrap piece of paper, list down every little feature you want your character to have, whether it be their physical appearance, any conditions they may have [eg, short sightedness, therefore they wear glasses]. It's your character, it's your imagination - what's stopping you now?!
_____Also think carefully about how your character will change throughout the story. Will Siobhan find meaning? Or will she spiral down into depression and never leave the house again?
_____Your choice. (:

Story descriptions
Now, write a summary of your story. This will describe what happens in your story [with basic detail, and no hint of how it will end] and hopefully draw in some readers.
_____For example:

Siobhan is a normal teenager. Having just finished high school, she is set to begin the next chapter of her life. University.

But what happens when the question that has nagged her for months comes out in full force, ready to disturb the near future?

And what happens when a time lord by the name of The Doctor turns up at your door?

Not the best example on my part. However, it is entirely up to you as to whether you have a story summary at all. The summary could be compared to that of a book's blurb. You pick up the book, read the back and see if you're interested, no?
_____The same applies for your story. :]

Next time: Creating chapters & cliffhangers and connecting your plot line and characters.
Posted on January 2nd, 2008 at 09:38pm


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