An Amusing Writing Technique (Characterization)

Hello, ladies and gents!

Here’s the fun writing technique I promised you a few days ago: the characters’ letters to you.

It is that forthright, I’m not joking.

I was inspired to try such a technique after reading the chapter entitled ”Out from the Dust: Creating Characters” from Colum McCann’s Letters to a Young Writer.


The author recommends we write a letter to each of our MCs (protagonists and antagonists) asking them ”Why don’t I know you?”. A loud bell resounded in my mind.

Indeed, what if I had a go at that seemingly amusing technique? I was in a tight spot where I needed to get closer to my characters in my Heaven’s Army series (particularly Hope, Fesdriel, Anick and Lucifer). Otherwise, I would continue to be stuck and just plain forsake writing their story. Plus, it sounded too fun to miss out on such an attempt.

So, I sat down with a pen and a sheet of paper and I asked that question (”Why don’t I know you?”) to Hope, my MC. I kid you not my hand moved almost on its own;  there were so many words in my head and they all needed to be put on the page! In less than two paragraphs I’d already learned three things I didn’t know about him!

It was riveting and fascinating!

But wait: it gets even better. Yes!

I wondered with alarm if this would help me with Lucifer… I was afraid yet curious. I’d never been close to my Lucifer for diverse reasons (notably because I’m quite a believer, so it doesn’t sit well with me… but my book needs him so I do too!). In other words, I never bonded with him like with my other characters. Does that make sense? Anyhow, I told myself the best thing I had to do was at least try.

Nothing came at first.

A week passed… Then, at midnight right when NaNoWriMo began, I swear to God the answers to my questions for Lucifer flooded me!

Overwhelmed, I couldn’t even think straight or do anything (like write Nightshade: The Death Stone, my NaNo novel this year). Thus, I opened K.M. Weiland’s Outlining software (amazing, by the way!) and clicked on Lucifer’s interview page (which was blank), then the magic happened.

I asked him three questions.

Cross my heart and hope to die but he answered all of them in a fierce and genuine manner. It was so beautiful I could have cried with glee. For once, I was connecting with that important character! Now, I have material to work with and I understand him much better (it’s still scary, but so fun!).

Break away and it. Break the mold and cross that fourth wall. Ask them on paper as though they were in front of you – or that you were them talking to you – and let their answers flow.

It’ll be worth your time. You might not use everything, but I assure you that you’ll know them in better details and perhaps look at them in another light. Either way, you’ll win.

Why not try that writing technique after all?

Go on, have fun and let me know in the comments how it went for you!

I’d love to hear your experience, dears.

See you next post!



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