Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lets Learn From Stephenie Meyer

So, today I got the opportunity to sit and glance over the newest book in the Twilight family, The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer. 

Now, I'm a Twilight fan through and through. But, even if you're not, there's something to say about this book. She has an in-depth look into every character in her four books! And I mean IN DEPTH! You know where each vampire was born, the year, when they were changed, why, by whom, who their friends are, what they look like, etc. And the main supporting characters even have their own back story. What life was like for them, how they saw the world, what their family dynamics were, what they did for a living. I mean, I could just go on and on. 
So, this got me to thinking. I haven't read the whole book, so I don't know if it talks about how much of this character back story she had planned before putting this book together, but if she did have it all planned, it makes sense as to why so many readers feel as though they are a part of the story, in how they attach themselves to the characters so well. So lets assume for a moment that all this character back story was something she had thought of while writing the Twilight series, to help make the characters more real.

Wow, just thinking about that, assuming it, causes my mind to form a "to do" list a few pages long. Yes, I have character sheets for my main characters, but nothing like this book outlines. NOTHING. And being that Stephenie Meyer has millions of satisfied readers, I should take notice of her strategy of building character depth. And not just on the main characters, but the supporting characters as well! 

I'm currently working on a YA novel that has it's own twist of the paranormal. And while I have each of the main and supporting characters' personalities, ways of thinking, and physical traits in my mind, I don't have an in depth look at why they think the way they do and what pieces of their pasts have made them who they are. And you know what? I can't wait to get started on the adventure of answering those questions! 

So, tell me: How much, and in which way, have you outlined your characters and added depth to them?   


  1. Ooh, I've never really thought much about going that far in depth, but ya know, its a marvelous idea. I can't think of a better way to really get to know your characters than to write their own individual stories. Experiences that have brought them into the type of characters they really are, like Rose and her attitude in Twilight. I have character sheets, or more like character footnotes that I use, but nothing this concrete. I need to pick up this book. Thanks!

  2. Um, yeah, I don't know all that in excruciating detail. Maybe I should!! Or at least in MORE detail than I currently have. Thanks for the food for thought. :)

  3. Did a bit of that for my shelved manuscript but really building an in-depth character guide for my new novel.That's why I'm still stuck with outlining...