What Do You Want Most In the World?

I borrowed an exercise from Chris Baty on the NaNoWriMo website. He suggested I sit my characters down and ask them this question: What do you want more than anything else in the world?

So I sat them down and interviewed them. This is what they said…

Character One: “I want to know why my father left me at this lousy orphan home.”

Character Two: “I want to have children of my own and I’d like to see my parents before they die. But they live in Boston and I could never afford to go.”

Character Three: “I get everything I want. And I’ll wield all my money and power to get it.”

Character Four: “I’d do anything to find a home where they don’t drink and they don’t beat me.”

Character Five: “I rather do anything but take care of these filthy scoundrels. I should have been a shopkeeper, but my brother stole my inheritance.”

Character Six: “I want my wife back. I can’t take care of these kids.”

I think this was a helpful way to refocus my characters and force me to think about their backstory a bit. Very enlightening…now you try it!


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. natasha
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 18:27:40

    I did the exercise and it was EXTREMELY helpful! I thought I had too many characters (I do) but seeing the ways that what the characters want fit together was very exciting for me.


  2. dayner
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 15:44:47

    I think I need to spend more time on the NaNo site. Y’all find these great things. Exercises and shovels of death but I just enter in my word count and go on about my business.
    This is a great exercise, thanks for sharing.


    • kathanink
      Nov 12, 2009 @ 10:43:29

      That might be why you have 8 gagglion words written and I have twelve! 😀

      Also, I signed up for some newsletters which I get every couple days…that’s how I get alot of it.


  3. natasha
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 10:59:46

    Oh, this is great! Thanks for sharing. I am going to go do this exercise with my characters right now.

    I have been winging this whole NaNo thing pretty much and I think exercises like this are a great way to help focus. Thanks for the little boost.


  4. justbeth
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 09:34:19

    I love this idea. I also have a good tool for character development. There is a big list of questions to help define who the character is.



    • kathanink
      Nov 12, 2009 @ 10:45:07

      I have that one, too! In fact, I have a pile a blank character pages sitting on my desk. I just haven’t taken the time to fill them out. LOL


  5. darksculptures
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 07:57:32

    This is a great exercise.

    I tried something similar prior to the start of NaNoWriMo. It helped me establish my characters needs and the flaws that were holding them back.

    These types of exercises have definately helped me clearly define my plot and characters before I started to write.

    I am so glad to hear that they are having the same effect for you! Maybe after NaNo we can compare notes and share with each other the things that worked best for us.

    Happy Writing Kathan!


    • kathanink
      Nov 12, 2009 @ 10:46:07

      I have been meaning to fill out some character pages that I got from Eva Shaw’s class, but I haven’t done it yet. I am just trying to not get distracted from my word count anymore.

      Alas, I am blogging again…


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