Is your character obsessed with something? No? Maybe he/she should be. That’s what I’m starting to think about regarding character development. Are you confused? I’m sorry, let me clarify.
I’m on my third version of the first chapter right now and I think I finally figured out how to make the stupid thing work. Previously I had tried introducing my protagonist and a few interesting characters before starting into the main plot. Here’s the problem: my goal was the plot. Let me say that again so it has a chance to sink in: my goal was the plot.
That may not sound like a problem, but I think I’ve made a realization about writing novels. The beginning isn’t about plot. It’s all about character. I mean, honestly, who cares about dragons, fairies, and explosions if the POV you’re reading is boring.
So what was my solution to said problem? I gave my protagonist a passion. The first chapter is all about basketball, and why not? I love basketball and so I decided to infuse it into my novel. The result is a more strongly written character who has a real relationship with her little sister who previously had no personality other than ditzy. Now, she cares about her older sister and respects how hard she works (aside from being a high school basketball star, she takes care of her sister in a parental way as well since the parents are kind of absent). Is the plot related to basketball? Not at all. In fact, the genre is paranormal romance/urban fantasy, but again, who cares? It’s engaging and develops the characters that I want my readers to care about.
Are you tired of all the bold letters yet? 🙂