suelder (suelder) wrote,

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The problem: In some scenes, the secondary or supporting characters become generic. Any of the secondary characters could be support in this scene. How do I differentiate them?

My Solution: came about because one of the supporting characters wore a t-shirt to a picnic. It said "World Docs – Saving the World, One Patient at a Time". I realized that this was the perfect motto for this character and his motivation.

What if every character had a motto, t-shirt or not? That could be a way to distill the character to a phrase – just to remind me who I'm writing and give them a little definition.

So, here's the list of my characters' mottos:

Lani (MC) – I've got to stop people from dieing

Tomas Santos (Dr. and Love Interest): Saving the World, One Patient at a Time

Col. McKittrick – Get it Done

Scotty – Let's Go!

Jerry – How Does This Work?

Walter – In My Day…

Col. Davidson – Let Me Tell You About…

Josie – How are you doing?

Carson – Mine to Protect

Daniel – There more in the world than you've ever dreamed of – and I've turned my back on that part. Don't ask.

Not all of them are t-shirt worthy, but they distill the character and sometimes his/her motivation down to something fairly easy to remember. Scotty is action-oriented. Jerry is an engineer. Etc.

So far, it's working pretty well.
Tags: characters, writing

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