Source: Character Study
This is the one thing some writers, especially beginner writers fail to see as being an important part of the writing process.
But first: what is a character study?
Character study is a process in which you, as the writer, start analysing the character you wish to write in your book. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about your characters, however. In fact, you can even character study about a character from a book you really love or when writing a paper of a literature novel for a class.
Either way, character study is an important step in the writing process in producing a quality fictional book.
As a writer myself, I tend to do character studies on my own characters quite a bit. My other writer friends often ask me what I do to know how my character behaves in a certain situation or how a certain character is unique from the next, and my answer has always been, ‘Do a character study!’.
It might sound like a tedious process and honestly, it might come off as so if you don’t like thinking much or planning much when it comes to your writing. And that’s fine, really!
But as someone like me who needs to know all the time how my characters will behave and how their reactions are different from one another in the same situation, character studying is a process that became something important and fun to do for me.
How do you character study?
There are many ways to do a character study, and today, I’ll share you the way that works the best for me.
Before I start writing a new story, I make sure I have a character list down. I write down their basic details like if they’re a male or a female, their names, how they look and who they are in the story. Next, I start writing a short excerpt of them involved in various situations in the plot. It doesn’t even have to be an actual canon event you want to write in your plot; as long as it gets your character to engage with their surroundings and react to the events unfolding to them, you’re doing a character study.
I met some new writers who think that it is us, as a writer, that controls the characters when in reality, it’s the total opposite. Hence why, character studying for me requires pushing my characters into situations that might be absurd or even too mellow from the original plot (the setting of the short excerpts I write doesn’t even take place in the same time and place as my story at times) and watch them react.
It might sound a little crazy.
It might even sound like I’m emphasising my characters are alive.
But they are alive.
In your mind, in your words, in your book.
And just like in your world, how everything is alive, your characters have their own way of dealing with certain things and situations and it’s your job as the writer to find what those reactions are.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realise it’s much easier getting into the heads of your characters and write. Whatever that you write might even sound ten times more realistic than just you writing a story without a solid character in mind.
So, do character studies.
They don’t take much of your time, if I’m being completely transparent with you guys.
You could do character studies even when you’re bored or have nothing to do. Just take out a piece of paper or open a new document and start a small plot on-the-spot and explore your characters.
Character studies are important! They are as important as researching elements that is to be incorporated into your work! Some people can do well without character studies and some just have to do them; and I’m the latter.
To me, character studies are very crucial.
A good character study gives off a solid character.