You’ve come up with the base for a great story. Your fingertips are dying to get started and have been anticipating the daily work that will be your creative outlet for the next several months. To prepare yourself for sorting out the details, you’ve decided to do a little homework on your characters. To discover their personalities, intricacies and idiolects, you’re ready to delve into whatever means you can.
As social media is one of the greatest ways to discern the likes and interests of people, tapping into the numerous online outlets out there can help you in your homework. Here are a few ideas to help you use social media to flesh out your characters:
Take advantage of the subreddit for fictional characters. Here you can post about any of the characters you are having difficulty creating. The characters have to be of your own making and not any that you’ve simply read about. You’ll be able to post a brief history, and then others can comment and ask questions to your character directly.
If you use this social media avenue, it’s very important to keep track of it faithfully. With people asking your character questions, your character – you, at this time – will have to respond quickly to create any sort of back and forth communication.
This is another great way to hash out your story’s leading people. Create boards for each of your characters by asking yourself how he/she would live out his/her life. What kind of food would they eat? How would they decorate their home? If they compiled a board of inspirational quotes, what would they say and why?
You could also try making a writing inspiration board where you can pin anything that will be of use and inspire you in your writing.
Don’t let that stray you from this idea. Instead, consider how your character would fill out their profile, without actually doing it. Would they care to mention their hometown, or have they moved too many times to think of one place as relevant? Would they set up a lot of security restrictions to keep their photos, posts, or videos private? Would they have a picture of their family on their cover photo or a Mustang grille? If you were to look at their Facebook feed, what sort of things would you see and who would they be from? This method can really help you develop your characters in ways you wouldn’t normally think of.
If your characters are modern, imagine whether or not they’d be the type to send out tweets on their own Twitter account. Decide if your character is the type to do the mobile device and app thing, and go from there. If you feel they are, decide if they’re addicted to it in their usage. What sorts of things would your character be likely to tweet about? How would they respond to current trends or interact with others on Twitter? Who would they follow most religiously? Who would they follow but pretend they don’t?
By trying your pen on a few of these social media outlets, you’ll be sure to create characters that are full of depth and easy for readers to understand. In so doing, you’ll be creating the world you so anxiously are penning into being.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and designer obsessed with social media. She loves finding ways to combine her passions and stretch her creative muscles!