When my students create characters for their NaNoWriMo novels, I push them to get super detailed: to hear the songs their characters will listen to when they plug in their earbuds; to picture the snack food they’ll pull from their backpack as they walk home from school; to feel the clothes they’ll grab from their closet on a Saturday morning. But those details don’t get to the heart of a character, to the backstory and soul that really drive a person.
So this year I added some layers to our character development lessons. I found this great article by Roxanna Elden on the three layers of a complex character:
- the outer, protective layer, which is usually “socially acceptable but superficial”
- the middle, defective layer, which we try to hide with our outer layer
- underneath it all is our inner, human core, the part of us that helps explain our…
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