We’ve all been there. You think you know someone. And then—wammo— she tells you something about herself that leaves you reeling. Or surprised. Or impressed.
“Yep, I was Valedictorian of my high school,” she says, “I got a full-ride scholarship to the college of my dreams until I was kicked out for smoking marijuana in my door room.” Wow, you think. Knock me over with a feather.
Or, like in the Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven, you fall in love with the new girl in town only to find out she has an abusive husband to whom she’s still married. So much for a quick engagement.
Get in Your Character’s Head and Make Up a Beguiling Backstory
It’s this very thing, the revelation of your character’s inner world, that makes your story more riveting, more relatable, more real. What is the skeleton in your character’s closet? The explanation for her covert behaviors, paranoia or paralyzing worry? Humanize your character by giving him a surprising revelation.
Do you love to hear a good secret?
Think of a secret that your character can reveal. Write the scene where he or she shares it for the first time and capture in writing the reaction of the receiver.
When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, be sure to leave feedback on a few practices by other writers.