Swoon Author Sandy Hall: Characteristic Serendipity
With November just around the corner, my next project is going to be written during National Novel Writing Month. After my last couple of books I feel like I need to shake up my process a bit and try something new. While I’m a plotter for life, I’m not always very organized when it comes to character building. It seems like a good time to try something new.
I have a basic plot and a handful of characters that have started talking to me. But there’s one character that has clearly started taking over the reins and wants to be the main female protagonist. The only problem is that she doesn’t have a name yet and I don’t know a ton about her.
So I came up with a list of yes or no questions to answer, to get a feel for some basic likes and dislikes and general beliefs. I’m hoping through this exercise I’ll learn little details about her personality and be able to find just the right name for her.
So in honor of Jane and all of her superstitions, Mighty Magic 8 Ball, do your thing!
this character smile in pictures?
“Cannot predict now.” (This answer isn’t shocking to me as number one because I know nothing about her yet and therefore the Magic 8 Ball doesn’t have much to go on.)
2. Does she know how to use chopsticks?
“Reply Hazy, Try Again.” (Really, not so shocking. Let’s keep going and come back to this one.) On the second try I got “Most Likely.”
3. Does she like to sing in the car?
“Don’t Count on It.” (This is an interesting answer to me because I love people who sing in the car, but not everyone is into it.)
4. Is she athletic?
“It’s Decidedly So.” (Another departure from my norm. I’ll have to try to pick a sport or two for her to play.)
5. Does she want to get married someday?
“Outlook Good.” (Makes sense.)
6. Is she patient?
“Reply Hazy, Try Again.” On my second time through, I got “It Is Decidedly So.”
7. Would she survive a zombie apocalypse?
“My Sources Say No.” (This is getting very interesting. She’s athletic but wouldn’t survive the zombie apocalypse. I’m starting to have a lot of fun thinking about this girl.)
8. Does she like scary movies?
“Ask Again Later.” On the second try, I got “Outlook Good.” (Maybe she should watch more zombie movies and learn a thing or two about survival. Just a thought.)
9. Is she an animal lover?
“Outlook Good.” (Now I’m picturing a girl who’s mom is maybe a veterinarian and she’s been around animals her whole life.)
10. Is she afraid of clowns?
“Without a Doubt.” (Also not a shocker.)
11. Has she ever fallen asleep during school?
“My Sources Say No.” (Hmm. She’s a good student then probably. Conscientious. She probably doesn’t stay up too late reading and writing fanfiction like some characters I know.)
12. Is she a good driver?
“Signs Point to Yes.” (This answer just makes me happy.)
13. Has she ever broken a bone?
“Very Doubtful.” (She’s careful.)
14. Does she believe in love at first sight?
“Outlook Not So Good.” (This is definitely a fun one to add in for a female protagonist in a romance novel. I’m really starting to get a good handle on this girl.)
After all those questions, I came out the other side with a nice foundation for who this character is. While all of these details might not be necessary in the book and they might need to evolve over time, I think with the help of my Magic 8 Ball, I’m much closer to having a name and a personality for this main character.Jane would be so proud.