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Researching Characters | #amwriting

I've been working on some character development this week. And let me tell you! It's not an easy task to manage!

They say that you should write what you know. But who'd want to read a book where every other character is a writer or a blogger? And maybe an English tutor, an accountant and a QA engineer (kudos to mom and sis). I guess there is a handful of other professions that I'm slightly familiar with thanks to my relatives and friends. But is this knowledge enough to write a proper MC? I don't think so.

But thank goodness for the Internet! If you don't know something from experience you can always google it. So writing an interesting character really boils down to lots of research.

I've decided to make a few of my characters lawyers and I have absolutely no frikkin idea about lawyers and what they actually do. Okay, I've seen lawyers on TV. But that's already a fictional representation, so it's probably not a very good idea to use other works of fiction while researching for your novel. Instead, I've pulled up a few articles on Wikipedia and some random websites about law schools, how to get a job as a lawyer, what kind of career paths there are for law students and so on. And then I'd like to find out more about the law itself. What is it and what do you do with it? I know that I'll only brush the surface, but at least I'll figure out why my character is so fascinated with it and how do I convey it through my writing.

But research is important not only for your character's career choice. Another thing I'm researching is psychology of an individual. And in particular children psychology. It's easier to write about adults, because I am one. The same goes for teenagers because I remember being one. But one of my characters who has quite a big role in the story is a four-year-old. He's old enough to have something to say for himself, but too young to communicate on the same level as an adult. Writing this character scares me the most because I want him to act his age, but I don't have enough experience with little children (last time I've tried talking to a 4 y.o. the kid got so shy that he head bumped me in the face) so I can't just write him on a whim. He'll have a lot of dialogue and I wouldn't want him to sound too old for his age.

So that's something fun to look forward to. Discovering my own characters and learn something interesting about them and maybe even from them.


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