I’ve always been reluctant to write lengthy character biographies. They seem redundant to me, and a distraction. But as I begin to develop a new idea, when the characters are still strangers to me, I sometimes kid myself that they’d be helpful. They never are, and I usually contradict them quite quickly.
But today I stumbled on an incredibly good compromise. I found a book I bought ten years ago and never read. It’s called Making A Good Script Great by Linda Seger. In a pique of procrastination, I started to read it, mostly because I’m a little stuck on finding my characters’ voices. She suggests writing journals.
I took the idea one step further, and have written some short journal entries from my four main characters, discussing the events of my first episode, in retrospect. They’re rough, and mostly pointless, except for one thing. The voices have begun to emerge, and they have their own rhythms and verbal ticks. A few quips and jokes even appeared. What’s more, their motivations became much clearer.
It’s been a good exercise.