Deep Characterization Enables Deep POV

When I first started writing, I found an online character worksheet and filled it out. Heroine: Age: 24. Red hair, green eyes, lots of curves. Hero: Age: 26. Midnight hair, cobalt eyes, plenty of hard muscle. A few more details and I was ready to write my masterpiece!

I quickly learned that without significant character detail, my manuscript was plagued with inconsistencies and required continuous rework. Even worse, my characters didn’t feel real because I didn’t know them well enough to get inside their heads.

Through research, courses, and good old-fashioned trial and error, I learned the art of deep characterization.

So what is deep characterization? Deep characterization entails developing your characters inside and out. It’s getting to know your main characters as well as you know your best friend.

Deep characterization is not just a physical description nor is it answering a few easy questions. It’s a detailed assessment of your character’s personality, strengths, flaws, and wounds. It’s a comprehensive understanding of his/her childhood, family, friends, pets, phobias, memories, and so on. It’s how he/she relates to the world, how they react to stress and other emotions. It’s even about their favorite food, color, TV show, movie, and book because each of these can offer invaluable nuggets of information about your characters…that is, if you dig deep enough.

There are many ways to create deep characterization. I use deep characterization worksheets, character interviews, and the 5-Why Process. I learned most of these techniques through OIRWA courses taught by Laurie Sanders. For more information, please visit Laurie at: https://lauriesplace.net/.

5-Why Process

This easy process can be used to generate a deep understanding of your character.

Instructions: Take one aspect of your character and ask 5 questions. Sometimes you may find that you need to ask 5 more and then 5 more!

Example

Character: AJ Ryan, the hero in my contemporary romance, The Perfect Lap.

What is AJ’s favorite drink? A shot of Jack Daniels.

Why is this his favorite drink? It brings back warm memories of his granddad who enjoyed an occasional shot of Jack Daniels. AJ moved in with his grandfather when he was 12.

Why did AJ move in with his grandfather? Because his mother couldn’t handle him.

Why couldn’t AJ’s mother handle him? Because AJ got into a lot of trouble, including smoking, getting bad grades, skipping school, taking a joy ride in his neighbor’s car, etc.

Why did AJ get in trouble? It was the only way he could get attention from his mother. Otherwise, she primarily focused on his younger half-brother, Sam.

You can see how this 5-Why exercise helped me dig into AJ’s background. After completing many of these exercises, I gained a deeper understanding of AJ and what makes him tick.

Completing deep characterization before you start writing allows your story to flow from your characters. It also enables writing in a deep point of view. When I start a new story, I complete deep characterization first—even before I develop themes, plots, and outlines. When I start with deep characterization, the rest of my story flows with effortless ease.

This blog was written by Sedona Hutton, author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction blended with new age spirituality.

The Perfect Lap—His job is to drive fast. Hers is to put the brakes on him. When sparks fly, will love cross the finish line? To purchase, please click on this link: https://amzn.to/2VkXIkv

Nora’s Promise—She trusts animals more than men. He races through women like checkered flags. Can one orphaned boy bring them both to the finish line? https://amzn.to/2OktquX

Cloud Whispers—The daughter she gave away. The family she always wanted. The journey to redefine her fate… To purchase this mind-expanding, award-winning novel, please click here: https://goo.gl/N9aC38

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Sedona Hutton Bio

Author Sedona Hutton finds inspiration in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and curly-coated retriever. In addition to writing, she’s a Reiki Master and a certified Chopra Center Meditation instructor. She enjoys reading, yoga, gardening, and experiencing the great outdoors on boats, motorcycles, and Jeeps. Sedona pens a “Peace, Love, & Joy” blog on her website. Visit her at www.SedonaHutton.com, on Twitter & Instagram @SedonaHutton, and Facebook @SedonaHuttonAuthor.

Sedona’s novel, Cloud Whispers, was a Finalist in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite Contest, an Official Selection in the 2018 Summer eBook Awards for New Apple Literary, Shortlisted for the Books Go Social Best Indie Book of 2018, and a bronze winner in the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards contest. Nora’s Promise was a finalist in the 2019 NIEA (National Indie Excellence Awards.)

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