Writing Tip #5 – Collect Character Inspiration

Not general inspiration, mind you; not something that could become a character idea.  But rather inspiration specific to a character you’ve already created.

Pinterest is my favorite way to do this–I create a (secret!) board for each character and pin pictures, quotes, song lyrics, MBTI facts, funny memes, and anything else that describes my character.  This helps collect and then articulate ideas for the character’s personality.  Often I see a quote that reminds me of a character (and I pin it to his/her board), but it’s not until I’ve collected images and quotes that I can articulate the underlying trait or fear or principle.

Here are some shots of Lennox’s board:

 

 

(I do not own any of these pictures, and I use them for personal inspiration.  No copyright infringement is intended.)

Another way to collect inspiration is to create a playlist for the character–songs with lyrics that describes him, or the type of music he likes, or music that signifies a plot change.  This gets you thinking about his character, his emotions, and his actions in the story.

Lennox’s playlist (in progress):

A third way is to visit tvtropes.org, plug in searches like “Hero Tropes” or “Emotion Tropes” and then find which ones that apply to your character or story.  This is pure, plain fun (though also a huge time-eater)–but it can show you weak points in your characters and plots, and create a general picture of character changes and plot points.  (NOTE: be careful on TV Tropes.  There are ads in the sidelines, and the site references some tropes and media that children under 18 don’t need to know about.  Browse with discretion.)

Some of the tropes that apply to Lennox (as of now):

Horrible Judge of Character (Initially, that is.)

Nice Guy

Gentleman and a Scholar (A young man example.)

Renaissance Man

Constantly Curious

Steampunk Gadgeteer (One of many!)

A fourth way is to put pictures, quotes, lines, and so on in a Word document, a notebook, or on a bulletin board rather than online.  But I recommend immediately writing down character personality/quirks/habits/quotes, etc. once you articulate it because sometimes Pinterest goes down or the Internet connection is lost.  And it never hurts to have a back up.

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