A year ago last March, I moved house. After the dust settled from that move, I did something I had never done before. I took a yoga class. A month or so after that, I tried yoga in the park. A few weeks ago, I tried something else new — Yoga Nidra. It’s a meditation technique where you try to achieve a conscious sleep. I enjoy yoga, but that’s not the point. The point is that I tried something new. Doing something new can be an adventure. It can also be fun.
As writers, we should have our characters try doing something that they have never done before. Have them do a wine tasting — yet another first for me a week or so ago. Have them try sky diving or scuba diving. Have them sign up for their first marathon. Have them do something that you would like to do. Then go out and do it yourself so that you can describe it. That will add detail to the fabric of your story. Just add it into your story in an appropriate place and let the characters try something new.
They don’t have to do anything exotic, just something that they have never done before, like a painting class or yoga. Have them try a new restaurant or eat something they’ve never had before. Their reactions to the new experience is an excellent way to show who they are as characters. You can make your characters come alive with those reactions. That’s the point of having your characters do something new. The more your characters do, the more real they appear.
Firsts, like these examples are a good way to build believable characters. If you show someone just going about their daily lives, it can make them feel flat. So throw something new to your characters. See how they react. Have them choose to do something different. Then weave that into their story. Let them experience a whole new adventure. Let them savor the new experience. Then throw a plot twist at them. It will make your readers sit up and take notice.
It’s a good idea to try new things yourself, not just have your characters do it. Doing something completely different shakes up your routine and gives you a different perspective. It’s exhilarating. OK, maybe not exhilarating, but it can be fun and what’s life without a little fun? So take your characters out and do something new and fun. Your writing — and your life— will be richer for it.
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