Sahar Jadoon
Sahar Jadoon asked Brian Staveley:

When I was young my teacher told me that I was good at writing and that I should do more of it. In my practice I always found myself blocked by one problem and still do today: Defining the different natures of the characters. What they're going to say, how they're going to act or react to a certain situation doesn't seem to flow naturally. How do you do it? and Thank you above all for your amazing work.

Brian Staveley Thanks for the question, Sahar. One trick that I've found tremendously helpful is to create a "dossier" for each of my characters (even the minor ones, when I'm being thorough). It's a word document with about thirty categories. For example: Verbal Tics, Fears, Things That Piss Her Off, Major Regrets, Favorite Foods, Most Loathed Foods, Self-Image, etc.

Some are trivial (favorite foods), some are major psychological touchstones. I do it all. I also compose a 1000 word back-story for each character. I find that with these two documents in hand, I'm ready to tackle whatever situations come up. Let me know if you try the technique and if you have any luck with it!

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