Writing Tip of the Week: The Proust Questionnaire

If you haven’t heard of the Proust Questionnaire, check out this link first: http://www.openculture.com/2014/06/the-manuscript-of-the-proust-questionnaire.html

Okay, so now that you know how awesome it is, here’s what we’re going to do: for the main characters of your current work in progress, fill out the questionnaire, answering as them. Get into their brain, feel around in their mind, and see what you find. Maybe your character is a little more into superheroes than you originally thought (mine was). Maybe your character has deeper feelings about a particular issue than you realized.

To make the reader believe your character, you need to believe your character. You need to treat them as a real living, breathing person. One with hopes and dreams and a history and a future. Give them that. Make them pop. The why speaks for itself.

The more dynamic your characters are, the more your readers will enjoy the story. It doesn’t matter if you’ve crafted the best plot in the world, if you don’t have dynamic characters to fulfill it, no one will want to read it. I read a book recently that had a great storyline, but the most annoying characters. It completely ruined the story for me, and now I won’t recommend it to anyone else, which is practically the driving force of book sales (word of mouth).

So do yourself a favor and spend some time with your characters. Take the Proust Questionnaire and see what happens.

[Follow me on Twitter at @tclem91 because.]

So avoid that

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