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Psych and Psyche

Happy Friday!  You still have until midnight 10/17/14 to enter the giveaway here.  The blog cleared 5k views this week!  Yay!

I've been prepping more for Spitfire, though not as much as I'd like.  Check out this awesome cover I made to motivate myself!
Yes, my name is off center.
I used the wonderful resource of morgueFile, which lets you utilize photos for free on the condition that you edit them and give credit to the source (thanks superchappie for taking and uploading the original!).

 I've been focusing more on my characters.  There are tons of character questionnaires out there, most are either too superficial or too long for my taste.  One that's pretty down-the-middle is this one from the nice folks at NaNoWriMo.  I like to fill out questionnaires like I'm interviewing my characters before the story starts.  I try and get a feel for their personalities and temperaments by listening to them answering my questions.  (Although I think several of my characters this year wouldn't give me the time of day!)

Inevitably there will be some thing(s) in your list of questions that have nothing to do with your story.  I either co-opt them to be appropriate to my world or just drop the irrelevant questions altogether.  Questions about favorite TV shows I dropped for The Neif, but I can co-opt to favorite leisure activities for Spitfire.  

But sometimes this isn't really helpful.  Knowing my character's favorite color doesn't help me see them as a person, it just lets me spin my wheels while I procrastinate on the things that matter.  To seriously evaluate your character's motivations, this post says that you only need to ask two questions:  1) What would your character die for?  2) Who would your character kill and in what circumstances?  Even if your story doesn't involve literal life and death stakes, examining these motivations will reveal the direction your character's moral compass points.

Speaking of spinning my wheels and procrastination, there's this awesome thing called the internet where you can find innumerable ways of wasting time.  You can make avatar's of your character to give you something to visualize when you're writing.  Here's one I made of my MC on HeroMachine.
Another two I've seen recommended for making character avatars are Azalea's Dress-up Dolls and Doll Divine.  Be warned, there are down-sides to making character avatars this way.  You are limited in your options for costume and features.  Depending on what kind of story you are telling, the ability to customize can be very low.  Also, these sites tend to only feature idealized body types, which doesn't really help when the story is about non-humans OR about humans who, *gasp* aren't models.  I had to give Eunice a human-shaped body and head, and there wasn't period appropriate clothing, so some compromises had to be made.  I did mention time-suck, right?  But if it's helping get me psyched up for writing, it's excusable.  Sure.  

Okay, fine, less time-wasting, more character development.  Another good way to think about characters is through use of the Meyers-Briggs personality types.  Most posts out there are about how to utilize your MB results, but I like this one which discusses how to think about your characters in these terms.  It helps you pin down a character's motivation and thought process rather than having to tell yourself, "Well, that's just the kind of person she is," when you run into a plot hole you're tempted to jump.  BTdubs, if you are interested in finding out your type, I recommend this site which not only gives you your results but common strengths, weaknesses, and other cool stuff about your results.  And, it's free.

How do you get to know your characters before you start writing?  OR, if you like to write as you go, what are the best ways for you to learn who your characters are in medias res?

***A housekeeping note:  Previously I had comments linked with Google+, so you could only comment if you had an account with them.  I have un-linked the blog, so you no longer need a Google+ account to comment.***

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