I described to a friend a while back how this edit has several stages. Character development is one of them. The first draft has patches of character development – especially when a character revealed something surprising to me, that’s always interesting – but there are also a few holes that need fixing. Below is a post another author/blogger shared. I will use these “F Words” in this next stage of the edit.
Character development is one of the many things I love about writing. I have a 9-page questionnaire that I just started using and boy howdy, does it go into a lot of detail. According to Bonnie Randall, Learning All Your Character’s F Words will help you have a deeper sense of what drives them.
And by F words, we’re not talkin’ cuss words.
Or their flaws.
We’re talkin’ seven things that construct your character’s Major Life Areas:
1) Finances. Finances drive many of our internal and external decisions. If your character is broke, why? Maybe s/he’s wealthy. How did s/he come by her means? Where does your character land?
2) Field. There are values attached to the professions we seek, and their appeal to us usually says a lot about who we are. They say a lot about your character, too. What does your character do for a living? Has s/he followed her passion or is she stuck in a dead-end job?
3) Family. This one is extremely complex. Our families foster the most loving and painful relationships we will ever experience. Examine your character’s attitude about family.
4) Friends. Examine who your character connects with and also how s/he connects. Who are your character’s friends? How do they contribute to (or rob from) his/her life?
5) Fitness. Does your character care about fitness?
6) Fun. How does your character define fun? Leisure pursuits speak volumes about people. Does your character even know how to have fun?
7. Faith. Spirituality is a powder keg. Few things give rise to more conflict, anger, opinions, and divisiveness than faith and religiosity. How does your character navigate within the scope of this Major Life Area? Do they define faith by religion or by spirituality?
And the bonus “F’
8) Food. People have the funkiest relationships with food. From gluttony to anorexia, food elicits extreme reactions and behaviors in people, as food is not only closely aligned with body image issues, but also with our ability (or disability) to self-soothe. So what is your character’s relationship like with food?
And there you have it. 7–but technically 8–Major Life Areas for character development.