Posted in writing inspiration

Characterisation // Week 4 | July Camp Nano 2018

Waddup Savi Crew!

My Week

Fourth week of Camp Nano and at of the point of this blog post, I’ve completed my YA anime-inspired fantasy WIP (I’ve actually been done for a while now—at least, with the major edits). This was my week in a nutshell:
But I needed to find a way to fill up the 10 hours left of my 40 hours total. Enter characterisation. After weeks of dealing with plot development and pacing, my focus shifted to character arcs.

In an attempt to restructure my middle grade contemporary fiction—after receiving albeit-valuable-but-still-makes-you-wanna-quit-writing-forever beta reader feedback—I stumbled upon two wonderful tools that helped strengthen my weak characterisation in both of my writing projects.

The first is The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders. Its basic concept states that in the world of fiction there are eight hero types and eight heroine types.

The eight hero types are:

  1. The Chief
  2. The Bad Boy
  3. The Best Friend
  4. The Charmer
  5. The Lost Soul
  6. The Professor
  7. The Swashbuckler
  8. The Warrior

The eight heroine types are:

  1. The Boss
  2. The Seductress
  3. The Spunky Kid
  4. The Free Spirit
  5. The Waif
  6. The Librarian
  7. The Crusader
  8. The Nurturer

The book also includes each archetypes’ strengths, weaknesses and pairs, i.e. which archetypes they interact best/worst with. This helped me inject instant conflict with my novel characters. For the record, my YA anime-inspired fantasy MC is a Spunky Kid heroine.

The second is How to Write Great Characters: The Key to Your Hero’s Growth and Transformation by David Wisehart. It gives the human psychological implications of a character and utilises a tool called the Enneagram which describes nine core types of human personality, each of which is driven by a different dominant fear. This book in particular has been immensely helpful in getting to know my characters and their motivations. I highly recommend it.

The nine core types of human personality are:

  1. The Reformer
  2. The Helper
  3. The Achiever
  4. The Artist
  5. The Observer
  6. The Loyal Sceptic
  7. The Adventurer
  8. The Leader
  9. The Diplomat

The nine dominant fears are:

  1. Fear of being evil
  2. Fear of being unloved
  3. Fear of being worthless
  4. Fear of being insignificant
  5. Fear of being incompetent
  6. Fear of being without support
  7. Fear of being deprived
  8. Fear of being controlled
  9. Fear of separation

In the case of my YA anime-inspired fantasy MC, she is a Type 8 Leader whose fundamental fear is being controlled. By integrating these two tools, I’ve been able to really know my characters in-depth. Of course, now that I’ve been reintroduced to my characters and their motivations, I may have to reread my WIP again to ensure that within plot each character is acting the way they should and being motivated by what they should. Sounds like a lot of fun doesn’t it?

But this is the second draft so I’m cutting myself some slack. According to a post I saw on Kim Chance’s Instagram, “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shovelling sand into a box so that I can later build castles.” And while I’m technically not on my first draft anymore, the mantra resonated with me and is still relevant.

I’ll be revisiting these aforementioned tools more in-depth in a later blog post where I will be discussing it for my self-publishing series once Camp Nano is over. Anyways, I’m rambling again which means it’s time to sign off… Toodles for now.

And remember, no matter where you live, take a little time to enjoy the island life! Happy Writing!

Author:

Author Poodle | Black Girl Boss | Catholic Sprinkle: Big hair... Even BIGGER dreams. Love God, love family, love doggies, love writing, love life...

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