Getting to Know You: Horror Tutorial Day 3

In horror (and in every kind of fiction), characters are what make a story work. Horror can only be truly horrifying if we CARE when that zombie/vampire/undergroundbeastthing devours your character.  Alexander Gordon Smith, the author of The Escape from Furnace Series, gives us a step-by-step guide to building great 3-dimensional characters that won’t have your readers saying, “Another Jason? Sigh.”

Every day this week, he’ll teach us something about writing horror, so be sure follow along – it’s about to get freaky in here.


Getting to know you!

Before we do any more with the plot, it’s vital to know who is going to be in your story. The characters are the most important part of writing because if they don’t seem real and engaging, the rest of the story won’t. For this story, your character will have the same worst fears as you – fears that he or she will have to confront during the story – but you also need to know everything else about him or her!

Coming up with characters is great fun – it’s like making brand new friends who you get to control! But it’s really important that you know Everything about your characters so that they leap out of the page (What If a character in a story becomes real? See, ideas are everywhere)!

Make a profile for your main character and always keep it with you. Cut pictures from magazines of hairstyles and clothes so that you know what he or she looks like, and what things they like or hate.

Try filling in a profile now:
Name Age
Hair Colour
Eye Colour
Personality (write down a few examples of what they are like as people – rebellious, scared of everything, friendly, evil, smelly, popular, a bully etc)

Work out every little detail before you start writing:
Favourite foods / drinks
Favourite Films / TV / Music
What kind of house they live in
What their parents are like
Brothers or sisters
Favourite Hobby
Worst Habit
Best Friend
Worst Enemy
Favourite / Least Favourite Subject
What do they want to be when they grow up
Five things they never leave home without
Their worst experience
Anything Else?

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