Sketchy

Dear Readers:

About half way through my first novel-writing class, I realized I’d transformed a boring, real-life story into a pretty wild ride. Now I had what my instructor called The Spine. Next, I needed to add flesh to those bones by throwing in colorful, fictional characters. These people would populate my plot and they’d grab my reader by the eyeballs, not releasing those peepers until we’d both reached the final page. So how do I get to know these characters who were total strangers to me? Yes, I’d known the real protagonist, Patsy, but that turned out to be a disadvantage. I kept trying to pigeon-hole her into a role that reflected the person I’d known but my fictional Patsy was a different person. And, I’d never met many of the people I now intended to put at her side,  getting her through this fictional journey. The solution? Sit down with each of them, invite imagination to look over my shoulder, and conduct a character interview. Ask the probing questions an investigative journalist uses to dig the dirt, scrape the bottom of the barrel, make the headlines. These character sketches would be a start. The plot thickens.


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