As a writer, I try to make my characters as 3D as possible. Sometimes, I’ll fill out entire questionnaires out for them on what they like to eat, what they do on their day off, what sort of music they listen to, etc. However, doing that for everyone can get a bit too much. I don’t always have the time and it gets a bit boring. Plus, I don’t want to force myself to do something.
Instead of filling out questionnaires, I try to picture a particular character in different scenarios. I find that this method is a bit more helpful because it lets me envision the character in motion. These scenarios can also be done with couples, friends, family, etc. Plus, they’re easy to alter because they’re in my head. Sometimes, I write them down in my idea notebook but most of the time, I don’t.
Some examples of the scenarios I envision are: Who would order drinks while the other grabs a table? How would s/he do if they found a cat stuck in a tree? Would s/he go to the store at night if they were craving ice-cream? They aren’t always like that but you get the picture.
There are various websites out there (like tumblr) that have really good scenarios and prompts to take inspiration from. In my spare time, I browse through these
Sure, there are some scenarios between my characters that would never be included in the actual story but it does help with their development off the page. New ideas tend to sprout and give me a healthy dosage of inspiration. While it doesn’t always happen, I like continuously think about ideas and what’s going on the page next.
Plus, I like having an idea of what to write before sitting at my computer. It’s a way that I prevent myself from staring at a blank page and wondering what I should write. It keeps my stress levels down and I feel more productive. If I k ow what to write, I get more writing done in on sitting.
Overall, scenarios work as a form of exercise for me. I can use them as creative prompts for my writing and my “creative” mind is always sharp. Sure, I give myself breaks but always thinking about writing and stories is really fun for me. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.
It also helps during any sort of road trip or errand. I get motion sickness so I can’t read or write anything. Having scenarios play out in my head keeps me entertained and occupied.