Revamping That Character

Okay, so you’ve got this character that’s sitting in your story. You like them, their there after all. They didn’t get killed off, or did they? Either way, you get through your WIP and realize this character has far more potential then you originally thought. They’ve shown some sass, or heart, or whatever it is that caught your attention and you kinda want to go with it.

But you’ve written an entire book around the fact that they’re shy and quiet and kind of in the background until you realize that that doesn’t make a bit of sense.

You know that whole advice about how secondary characters need to be written like they’re telling their own story, yeah, well you get the idea.

So you decide to revamp and that requires getting a new identity for your character. Maybe not an all-new identity, they can keep their name, and their background if it still works for the story, that just leaves you with their personality. Their reactions to certain events and their attitude toward other characters. It’s not an easy process. I’ve done it twice now, well three, if you want to count the time I revamped the same character twice. It doesn’t get easier because you have to comb through your manuscript and decide if that reaction in that scene still fits or does it need to be completely rewritten. More often then not it needs to be completely redone.

So here are a few ideas to help with recreating a new character.

1. Have the character take another personality test.

Yes, this can be time-consuming, but if you are really wanting to know which direction this character is going it might be worth a shot. If you really want to go crazy, you could even decide on a birthday and pick a zodiac sign for them, or vice versa. I’m sure there are ways to quickly look up the various zodiac personalities and pick a birthday from there.

Kinda sounds like a fun idea.

2. Find the character’s defining moment.

You know that scene that really made you love the character. The one that made you realize they were going to make the cut or even that one moment that you realized you’ve completely underestimated that character. Find it. Make it stand out so that others will notice them as well and possibly even fall in love with them. This will also require you to comb through every scene that character is in and ensure that it all matches up with what you having coming for them. If they don’t have one, give them one. There’s got to be something that you can expand upon, or add. As long as it’s not fluff. Avoid all that glitter fluff.

3. Write out the character’s own outline.

This can happen in a number of ways. Any form of outline would really work and allow you to see from start to beginning how this character’s major plot points and all the bits in between. This, of course, would also require you to completely rip apart that story you’ve been working on just to add in all these bits. So this would probably work best for a major character, but if you are one of those writers that map every little detail out, all the way down to why the snail crossed the road, well it’s always an open option.

4. Do some character exercises.

Okay, so you’ve got this crazy ass character that won’t leave you alone. Begging you to give him a bigger better role. Okay. Fine. Throw them through the hoops. Put him through a series of character exercises. Not literally, of course, unless your stories some kind of military/ superhero type of story. Which is cool could work.

A few that I would suggest for those other stories is maybe a bit of truth or dare. Dive into their heads and see what they would and wouldn’t do. What they’d be willing to admit to. Have them witness a crime, or find themselves in a situation where it’s a save one or save all situation. Send them on a date and have another character say “So tell me about yourself.” There are a dozen ways for this to work and you just have to google Character Development Exercises to find the one that works for you.

Now, none of this actually has to end up in your story, this is just you doing some digging. Getting into your character’s head to find the juices bits that can be used, but you can still have fun.

5. Make them the hero of their own story

In the end, that’s what the four other ideas are boiling down to. If they are the hero, make them be a hero. If they’re a side character, make them a hero in their story. Look at it from their perspective. The whole the plot, the other characters, all of it from that insignificant perspective. You’d be amazed at what comes out when viewed from that scope.

Altogether, have fun. Enjoy your time with those characters because, from what I understand, you’re going to miss them one day.

Until next time, happy writing

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