Anyone want to do homework along with my mentee? Here was the first assignment.
To start off, we dive into character to lay the groundwork for what your MCs want, what they fear, and what is standing in their way. This comes from Michael Hauge’s Identity and Essence which I think works great for romance arcs. There’s a really lovely summary of this here:
Story Genius also bases its theories on character-driven story, but they boil down to knowing your character’s backstory and where that places them in their world before the story begins, before their assumptions are challenged. Same idea, different words. It never hurts to read things from various points of view, so pick up Story Genius if this is all unfamiliar to you.
So here’s the homework:
For each of your characters, answer the following questions.
- What do they fear most (whether they know it or not)? (This is the identity, the lie they tell themselves, or the wound.)
- For each fear, where does this come from?
- What do they most want, hope for? (This is the essence, the potential they have if they strip away the fear.)
- For each want, what is standing in their way? How do your characters present obstacles to each other, or exacerbate their fears?
- What is their explicit goal in life? How can your characters help each other to achieve their dreams?
- What is their secret dream?
Feel free to write short statements or a full essay, whatever works best for you.
Off you go!