Is writing a biography enough to acquaint yourself with your main character?

A biography tells you about his characteristics, his likes and dislikes, his job, his education, his background, his flaws and his hopes for the future.

I wonder how many of us, once we start writing, look back and check some of the facts about our character – the colour of his hair, eyes and maybe his age would be all. We just trust that we know him well.

It’s amazing how we forget the essence of the character we started with and find it hard to renew the energy that we had at the beginning.

Recently I had an experience while explaining to a friend about why she should read a booklet the minister had given out the previous Sunday. I discovered that I knew why the athletes’ talented gifts of running, swimming, jumping etc. were sustained. On explaining why this happened, I discovered that my faith was stronger than I supposed and it took me by surprise.

Perhaps when you find your main character is losing validity and you want to get to know him better. Look at the biography by all means, but a better way would be to find a friend who will listen to you. Explain to him what your character is like, in fact everything you know about him and where he fits into the story. Tell him what your character wants to do and the obstacles he is up against. Also why his character traits keep getting in the way. You might discover that you know your character better than you thought. I wouldn’t be surprised if this experience doesn’t renew your acquaintance with your vision of your character when you first created him.

You should be energized to write further chapters with this new insight into your main character.

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