It’s still early in October, but already the masquerades have begun. Pumpkins are being carved. Costumes are being purchased. Parties are being planned.
So let’s play dress up! Put yourself into the shoes of your characters. Dress the part, talk the part. Go shopping as your MC. Go jogging as your villain. Find a partner and role-play that scene you’re struggling with. Don’t be afraid to put on a disguise and bring your characters to life.
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:
“Audition” your characters. Think about a place in your novel where you know you’re going to need to introduce a new character. How will this affect the other characters already introduced?
This prompt puts me in mind of Luna Lovegood from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. She is one of my favorite characters, and during a recent reread of the series, I came to realize she is not mentioned once, not even in passing, until book five. Whether this was done intentionally, or Rowling had no need to create this character until this time, doesn’t make much difference. The point is, how is she introduced?
It can be tricky introducing a new character so late in the story, but Rowling pulled it off perfectly. Luna is a year younger than Harry. She’s in a different House. There was no real reason for them to travel in the same circles until she appears on the scene. Harry and Ron are surprised by Luna. Ginny Weasley, who is a year younger than Harry and Ron, already knows Luna. In this way, Luna is brought seamlessly into the story line.
If you find yourself two-thirds of the way into your story and the need arises for a new character to take up a particular task, introduce them in such a way that it doesn’t bring the whole thing crashing down. It needs to make sense. If you can, go back and insert the character earlier. Or at least the possibility of said character.
Here’s a final thought on disguises from psychiatrist Carl Jung: