by Destine Williams
Hey, everybody, Destine here from The Zen Zone. Don’t shoot me for the pun. There’s a good reason for it I swear!
Maybe you’ve run into the problem of your settings feeling a little too thin, or characters feeling too cardboardy. But at the same time you don’t want to make huge lists and sheets of things to make something unique.
And that’s good, erm not good that you have the problem, good that you probably don’t want to make the lists. Because as I’ve mentioned before, more is not better, unless you can actually use all of those things effectively.
So I’ll share a little technique that’s made my writing flow a lot easier. And I call it the peeling technique. You’re free to write it down or just keep it in your head. Whatever makes it easiest and most helpful for you.
And here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Do a character/setting/ object/ whatever you want to focus on sketch. You can skip this however, if you have something in mind. But you may still want to jot down the qualities of your subject that you are absolutely not willing to part with because these are your core traits that people will likely associate with your subject.
Step 2: Add one unique quality/ quirk/ like/ dislike/etc event to your subject. But don’t just stop there. How did your subject come to have it? Is it a welcome change or nah? A flaw that other people notice? Are there memories associated with this new change?
Step 3: Repeat step 2 until you feel you’ve got a more rounded subject. I wouldn’t recommend doing this too much for one subject. Maybe like 2-3 times at first, unless you’ve created something new, then you might need more. But do keep in mind that the more attention you give these new additions in your book, the more you’re saying that they’re important and will be used at some point. So if that’s not your intent, do be careful!
Step 4: Check where you can use this new addition(s) in the story. If you can use it somewhere at least once, you’re solid, but it’s even better if you can use what you’ve peeled more than once. More use helps it get solidified in a reader’s mind which in turn helps it become a signature trait that people associate with your subject.
That’s about all I have on the subject. Hopefully it helps. Happy writing all!
Destine Williams is the author of Vicissitude: Yang Side (Lost Earth), musician of its official soundtrack, and the founder of The Zen Zone where she gives tips and tricks to help out fellow writers. If you are interested in more posts like this, check out more here.