Woohoo! Back to writing! Over the years I have often wondered how others brainstorm for their stories because my ideas tend to come sporadically and in the form of a jumbled mess in serious need of untangling. I do not outline everything, but I do enjoy concise lists that I can revisit for important points at a later date. There is little method to my madness and I am awfully inconsistent, but that works for me. However, I find that exploring other peoples methods tend to help create new ideas and better organize the globs of inspiration thrown my way. Outlines, lists, character profiles, chapter-by-chapter construction, and various other approaches are a few of the many ways I’ve seen authors go about their writing. So let’s talk about my method.

As I said I can be inconsistent with ordering, but I still follow a basic rhythm for developing my stories. It begins with one small detail such as the color of the sky, a haze of fog in the early morning, a windblown tree, a mysterious character walking down the street, or even an imaginary (perhaps ridiculous) event taking place before my eyes. 

I have compiled a list for your consideration when you begin developing characters in your story. I suggest you do the list in top-to-bottom order because the uppermost decisions can help you with a name at the end.

  • Age, Gender
  • Profession (if any)
  • Personality trait(s)/flaw(s)
  • Opinions of other characters?
  • Opinions region/kingdom?
  • Opinions of universal laws?
  • Unique character qualities?
  • Name

Sample Characters

Character 1 – Sci Fi, Otherworldly

  • 27 Female
  • Guardian
  • Passive-Aggressive; Confident
  • Disdain for her superiors; Enjoys the company of a particular ship Captain
  • Hates living on spacecraft for any length of time; Prefers her time-off
  • Universal Laws are an inevitable source of discomfort in her life; disdain for the society she is part of
  • Despite extremely advanced healing technology, she has a scar that will not mend
  • Irelia Farrenon

Character 2 – Dark Fantasy

  • 45 Male
  • Royal Painter/Sculptor
  • Selective mute; entirely rational 
  • Undecided/emphemral opinions 
  • Loyal to the Kingdom
  • Universal laws are logical 
  • Carries around a bag of colored marbles so seemingly no purpose 

Other considerations for your story should include:

  • How do your characters relate to the world or setting you’ve created?
  • What separates your world/characters from others?
  • Look for loopholes to your plans
  • Question the motive(s) for your plot(s). Is it realistic?
  • Find alternatives

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