Characters: Flower or Weed?


Authors continually strive to create memorable characters that walk off the page like Scrooge, Harry Potter, or Grandma Mazur.

Some writers complete lengthy character questionaires. Others interview their characters.

I understand the reason for this process. It's vital to give characters flaws, foibles, and bad habits. But there's just one problem. I'm a pantser. Nothing kills my creativity or desire to write quicker than a questionaire!

So, how do I tackle characterization?

I ask one (and only one) question: Is this person a flower or weed?

This short, simple query gives me a clear indication of who this character is, yet it allows me to flesh them out more fully as I write the first draft. I'm neither restrained nor confined by this technique. It's flexible, insightful, and did I mention simple?!

It's also subjective. While you may view a particular flower beautiful, I might find it repulsive. The same works with weeds. Gardeners despise dandilions, but I adore them. They signify springtime and the end of winter. They're resilient, tenacious and cheery. Even sunny! All traits than can easily be applied to a person.

Is your character a flower or weed? The answer may just be somewhere in the middle, and how fascinating is that?

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