Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By C. LaRene Hall

As a writer, I’m sure you’ve sat and contemplated why so many times. In fact, there is probably no end to the questions you can ask.

Why did God make me this way? Why do I always blame Him?
Why do I have brown eyes? Blue eyes are prettier.
Why aren’t I tall? I never can reach anything on the high shelves at the grocery store.
Why don’t I have red hair? Brown is such an ordinary color.
Why do I hate celery? Everyone says it’s good for you and delicious.
Why am I so hard on my self? I really do get some things right.
Why do I always trust everyone? Most people are good.
Why do I like to travel? I’m a gypsy or would like to be one.
Why do I like to write? It’s the best way to express myself.

Some workshops I’ve attended have encouraged me to ask my characters hard questions. Find out what makes them tick. Know everything about them. Ask yourself what is your character’s defining quality. Most importantly remember that a hero has to have courage.

You can carry it a little far sometimes – I have. The why questions can go on and on if you let them. Decide which things are important to the story and leave the rest for another book. Give your readers enough information so they relate to your characters, but not too much. Know when to stop asking why.

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