One of the first steps in creating a character is to understand their backstory. Whether we use the details about each character’s past in the actual story or not, we need to have a clear and compassionate understanding of our characters’ histories.
Oftentimes, we have an inkling of our characters – even when writing from real life experience in a memoir – and our tendency is to write and write until we stumble across their desires and the motivations for those desires. In fact, it is likely even more difficult to get to the core of characters in memoir because we’re so very close to it all – so emotionally attached to our version of the story.
Whether we’re writing fiction or memoir – or something in between – we need a way to approach characters’ emotional inner workings, and an effective method to accomplish this is to explore the Root Chakra because this chakra is about our origins. It will take you to your characters’ emotional underpinnings.
What do you know about your characters’ family of origin, and how does it inform her/his desires, motivations, and behaviors?
After we make a thorough and in-depth investigation of our characters’ backstories by way of understanding the Root Chakra, we can then begin to explore each character’s understanding and relationship with herself. A common practice to show readers a character’s view of herself is to use interior monologue – to take our readers inside the character’s mind.
Another way to accomplish this is by understanding the Sacral Chakra. It can shine a light on a character’s self-awareness by focusing on his relationship with others (how he relates to others based on his impression of himself) and on his ability to be creative, which can take many forms.
Give thought to how your characters support, interfere with, and reflect each other’s most vulnerable parts, including their ability to create.
How do your characters reflect each other through thought, action, and dialogue?