Character Development: When Your Main Character Tells You How It’s Done

My main character from Rochelle’s Briefcase popped into my head the other day and boy did she give me serve!
It took me a little by surprise. I mean, it shouldn’t have. Who else’s head would she be in?
It was an interesting exercise in character development. Here’s what we had to say to each other:

Rochelle Summers: Oy! What do you call that?
Richard Leonard: What?
RS: My life! That was pretty pathetic. I don’t know anything about myself apart from what happened in those five days. And that brief flashback to when some little girl almost got abducted. I don’t even know if that was me or not. I think it was. It’s what I told that Ashley guy and I had to make up the rest. What were you thinking?
RL: It’s a first draft —
RS: Better hope so. You made me out to be some horny, man-chasing tart when I wasn’t stressing about that stupid briefcase! I’ll have you know I’m a far more interesting person than that.
RL: I don’t doubt it, Roche. I plan to build you up more in the second draft.
RS: Do NOT call me Roche. It’s Rochelle to you, Mister. Only my friends call me Roche. Speaking of friends, I want more friends. Tina’s pretty cool but I do hang out with more people, you know. Or didn’t that occur to you?
RL: Sorry, Rochelle. I didn’t want to bore people with too many irrelevant characters. That’s a big no-no.
RS: Irrelevant? You think my friends are irrelevant?
RL: Of course not. It’s just that they didn’t share this particular part of your life.
RS: Oh, right. Isn’t that up to me? Don’t I get to decide who is involved in my life? Like Ashley. Hmm?
RL: You saw the messages. You weren’t meant to tell anyone about the briefcase. Bad enough you told Tina.
RS: Tina is my bestie. We share everything. Although I can’t seem to recall much else we shared…
RL: So you want more friends involved. If I give you more friends I’ll need reasons for them to be there.
RS: Great. Thanks. But that’s not all I want.
RL: <Sigh!> Go on.
RS: My mother. I don’t know anything about her apart from my early life, but nothing since. Everyone has had a mother at some stage in their life. I want to know what happened to mine. And my father, too.
RL: Er, okay, fair enough.
RS: And my job. I don’t even know what I did for a job. It seemed to be an office job but that’s all I know.
RL: The job was covered in the last chapter.
RS: Yeah. After you killed me off! How was I supposed to know what I was doing? I was dead! Why did you let me die? I was very upset about that. It really hurt.
RL: I’m sorry. I explained my reasoning in a blog post which you can find here.
RS: I can’t read blog posts in your world from mine. You should know that. Besides, I’m dead.
RL: Of course. Okay, in summary, you want more friends, to know about your parents, your job. Anything else?
RS: Yes, I’m far from finished with you. Hobbies. What am I interested in? I have no idea. Apparently I like guys and dresses and going to the gym, but come on! I’m not that shallow. Although that Ashley guy you hooked me up with was pretty hot. I suppose I should thank you for letting me pash him on Sunday. That was pretty awesome. But there’s more to me than that. like… like… see? That’s my point. I don’t know!
RL: Right. You want to be more three dimensional, deeper.
RS: Yes! You catch on quick.
RL: I like to think so. Anything else?
RS: Yes. More of my past. You touched on it briefly but you can’t just leave it there. I want more.
RL: Got it. More history. But not too much. People might not care.
RS: Run it past me when you’re done.
RL: Oh, you’re calling the shots now?
RS: Absolutely. It’s my life, hun. You can cut it back later but first you have to know it so I can know it.
RL: Good point.
RS: And… I’d really appreciate it if I survived.
RL: I’ll think about it. It depends on your attitude.
RS: Oh, really?
RL: Yes, really. You let your attitude run away and it will get you killed. I can’t help that.
RS: You’re the writer.
RL: What I write has to be believable. If you jump on a land mine because you’re in a bad mood all bets are off.
RS: Fine. Now get on with it. I want to be back out and alive pretty soon.
RL: Yes, Miss. Right on it.
RS: Oh, and Richard?
RL: Yes?
RS: Maybe you could up the romance a bit, too.
RL: Romance isn’t my thing, really.
RS: Your loss. I was thinking of that tradie guy. He was kind of hot, too. Girls like a bit of romance. Especially when there’s indecision and conflict. Maybe they can fight over me or something. That would be lovely.
RL: There was tension in the second last chapter when you were all heading to where the briefcase was hidden.
RS: That wasn’t tension! Jake was mildly annoyed with Ashley and Ash just ignored Jake. Boring. You can do better than that.
RL: I’ll give it a shot. Now get outta here!
RS: Goodnight, Richard!
RL: Goodnight, Rochelle.
RS: Oh, Richard, one more thing.
RL: What’s that?
RS: Could I have bigger boobs?
RL: No! Goodnight, Rochelle.
RS: Aww. Goodnight.

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3 thoughts on “Character Development: When Your Main Character Tells You How It’s Done

      1. ericjbaker

        Ha! If someone stole my wallet, the biggest impact on the thief would be the additional dead weight that slows him down.

        God, I can’t wait until you and I join the .05% of writers who actually make money at it.

        😉

        Reply

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