I don't know where to start... I'm white. I'm privileged. I view the world from a white lens. I am ashamed. I can do better. And, so can the people who respond to #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter. Yes, all lives do matter but all lives do not live in fear because of the colour of their skin. Black lives are undervalued and this is wrong. Black lives matter. Black people are trying to be heard. And, I am listening.
The comic below by kris straub does a great job illustrating why "All Lives Matter" as a response to the current race crisis is perhaps...not the best response.
Racism is not a problem exclusive to the US. We have racism in Canada. We can all do better, and we can start with acknowledging that we view the world from one of white privilege. We should be compassionate to those who are fighting to be heard and critical of those in power who are fighting to maintain a racist system.
Here's a link to Black Organizations and Anti-Racist Groups Canadians can support.
One of the most fun aspects of writing…besides spending the day in my imagination is the time I devote to character development. I LOVE this process. From finding the ‘perfect’ name, deciding what they look like to defining all the aspects of their personality.
It may be fun but it’s also important because it helps you develop interesting and compelling characters whose jobs are to help drive the plot of your novel. And, to do this as the novel’s creator you need to know what motivates your characters. You also need to have characters who are believable AND memorable. Characters who readers want to invest their time in so they will actually read beyond the first few pages of your book. Yes, character development is important.
Character Development Tools
If you google ‘novel character development’ you will be inundated with tips— 207,000,000 to be exact. There are templates, questionnaires, worksheets and charts—holy smokes—it’s OVERWHELMING. Bear in mind what works for one writer, may not work for another. There is no right or wrong process you need to find what works best for you.
Personally, I like to keep it simple and I’ve found that a character development chart works best. For each character, I brainstorm following elements.
If your brainstorming has come to a screeching halt, here is a link to tool that I think is great. WD Character Development Cheat Sheet
Upon completion of this process, you have a clear picture of who your characters are and how they will behave so you can write them accordingly.
The Good, The Bad & the Ugly
If I may add…to ensure your characters are memorable you should include the good, the bad and the ugly personality traits. You want your characters to be multi-dimensional; after all no one is perfect and besides perfect would be boring.
One of the most memorable characters I’ve had the pleasure to create was Isra from Beauty Beneath the Banyan. She is a strategic woman who was in prison for murdering her husband. Certainly, not close to my personality which was what made her so 'fun' to write.
Who was your favourite character to write?
Character Development at its Best
Alan Bradley is a master at character development. Here's an excerpt from his novel The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: