I find myself in a difficult situation because it is hard for me to know how you feel about me; you do not speak much, you simply look but very intensely. Line after line informs you of my desires, my fantasies, my goals and my flaws and yet all I get to witness is mere intensity of your gaze, the weightlessness of your laughter, and your judgemental smirks when I make a mistake. But that is how the universe has willed it to be.
I have decided to give this a chance. Although I have to admit, I do not appreciate those judgmental stares, remember I am also human and if I wasn’t as flawed as I was, I wouldn’t be of any worth to you, you would leave me for another book for a quirky character perhaps like Holden Caulfield who hates himself but is somehow still loveable to you all; by the way, I’ve met him and if you ask me, he’s a bit annoying, you wouldn’t like him.
I know our love is unusual but if you feel the same way I have found a way to let you into my world. I managed to get a hold of that Potter boy, and he agreed to help me even though he was in some hurry preparing to fight some Voldermort dude. He has put a special spell on your book, if you’d like to enter my world all you must do is write so on the last page of the book, and it shall all come true.
You’ll like it here, it’s different but at least we know who our Gods are.
PS. Our story will be one for the books!
Every time I write a story, build a character or a setting, I am trying to think how the reader will connect to it. While it is built from my imagination, it is but your imagination that has to see it the way I do. And so the greatest technique of building connect in a story, is the detailing.
Like in life, when we read, we pick sides too. We pick the underdog sometimes, and sometimes the super hero, and at other times we pick the universe. But to make up your mind about which side to be on and how to read the story, the writer builds context. That letter you just read, a letter from the writer to a reader gives you a peek into the writer’s psyche.
In order to make myself familiar to the reader’s thought process, here is what I do:
Make a character map of the characters.
Even the most flawed of humans have a value system, it might just not agree with your own. When I create characters, I look at what kinds of decisions they would take and what would drive those decisions.
- Are they honest? Are they black and white or are they grey?
- Do they believe in familial ties or are they a loner?
- Do they believe in God or in convenience?
- Do they believe in data or in relationships?
- Would they choose duty over love or vice- versa?
- Do they meditate?
- Do they become bitter after a heartbreak or do they become better?
- Do they have a purpose in life apart from coming alive in your book?
- Does your character evolve to become more?
What kind of future have you visualised for your characters?When people write series and sequels, it is a tough job. It is a lot of work to keep the character alive page after page and book after book. But with a character map, it is easier to remember what they started from.
Also remember that the absence of a value system, is also a value system.
All of these make a character map of sorts. Ask as many questions as you can of your characters. When you have that ready, you know who your character is, and the writing becomes simpler.
The richer you imagine, the more depth and personality the character has and the more you can engage with them as the story builds.