10 Days of Character Building: Brainstorming

This is Day 6 of 10 Days of Character Building

Brainstorming is a proven technique for exploring just about any idea. The process consists of quickly recording (without editing yourself) all of the options/descriptions/ideas /thoughts you have about a topic. You then sort through your items and pick the ones that work. This process can easily be applied to creating characters.

Step One
Get a large sheet of paper, notebook, a set of index cards or a computer application that you can use to write ideas on.

Step Two
Write down the information that you already know about the character. This could be as basic as the name and gender. The point is, get the things that you are sure about out of the way first.

Step Three
Begin writing down every possible potential detail that you can think of for the character. The details can be random and even contradictory. Your record every possible thing you can think of that seems to fit the character. Spend as much time as you need, but no less than fifteen minutes.

Step Four
Review the potential details and discard details that you are sure won’t apply to your character. Separate the rest into details you are absolutely sure that you want, details that might work, and details that are still interesting but contradict each other.

Step Five
Create your profile of the character, grouping details into categories of similar items. Concentrate on the details you are sure about but give the other details a final review to decide which ones should be added.

I have purposely tried to leave the sort of details you should review as vague as possible. If you really need more guidance, however, you might want to start with appearance, friends, goals, quirks, flaws, problems, values, morals, history, possessions, skills, fears, favorites, enemies, education, finances, pets, and family. Don’t feel as if you need to include all of these categories or limit yourself to these categories. Just write what comes to mind.

5 thoughts on “10 Days of Character Building: Brainstorming

  1. The High Priestess

    The moon rose in the twilight sky, pink in the western heaven
    Blue dark and high, the guardians of each direction were called
    And each lantern lit to assemble them nigh
    The High Priestess presided, her consort at her side
    This evening’s ritual would soon bind them all
    In their alignment to seek Abramalin’s Oil

    By water and salt the circle was cast
    Thrice around fire of the censor did last
    Her athame held nigh, the blue light was set
    And after the Godess and God candles were lit
    Charge of the Goddess, by the light of the moon
    Protect us and guide us by the power of right
    As we seek release from heaven and hell
    To discover the secret of Abramalin

    Her robe was of silver, pale sequins and beads
    a crescent moon circlet confined auburn hair
    Her skin was magnolia, her lips like pomegranate seeds
    Her aura the snow of the Himalayan bower
    Her purpose was clear, her intent precious and near
    For each in her heart, was special and dear

    Tell me your heart, speak of your desire
    She spoke for the Goddess embodied herehwith
    In the soul of this priestess a channel light,
    For ach of you rightfully Minded this night,
    I shall if you answer each
    Question in truth, reveal the gifts
    Of the secret of Abramalin

    Their purpose now stated, the power yet to be raised
    More Lovely to behold than alchemy’s gold,
    The Priestess forth with began the praise
    To the Goddess and God, timeless and present

    In a voice like the nightingale, she sang of the glory
    Of the old days and present, a timeless love story
    She called out the names, and asked for them all
    To join in the harmony of the oldest of all
    Music of spheres, monumental or small

    Lovely, as lovely as moonlight
    Reflections of starlight
    The Goddess in you
    Midnight, we gather round lamplight
    To conjur the majick
    The Goddess in you

    Blessed be the seekers
    Blessed be all, who wish
    For the truth to touch beauty’s secret
    For knowledge and conversation I
    Will bring to you all.

  2. I have a question about brainstorming and character building. Can the brainstorming and character building be used for technical writing? For example, an article that a writer will explain how to SEO a website. Also, you said to record the ideas that I have on the topic or character. Would I tape record or videotape? I’m trying to figure out the best methods.

  3. Therapy New York,

    When I grow up, I think I’ll invest in a nice little camera. When describing a character, it’s so much easier for me to tell you about them, rather than write it. I think that’s because of my rather imagerific (made up words ftw) style of verbal description. I use sound effects and varied voices. It could probaby really help to record that sort of thing for future reference (or for laughs). Als, try acting out your character if you get a camera. It’s as fun a writing, but you dont have to worry the slightest bit about grammar and diction. Hope that helped.

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