I recently learned how to make pancakes and haven’t been able to get over them. I couldn’t help but notice that the process of making delicious pancakes was similar to writing believable characters.
Pancakes are primarily composed of eggs and flour among other ingredients. Similarly, your process of writing must primarily take care of a strong character sketch and a detailed backstory.
Chef’s tip: You might never know when you might need some extra flour. Always keep some handy. It is important to understand that even if you might not utilize all the parts of your backstory, you shouldn’t hesitate from writing one with extensive details.
Just like you must beat your mixture for long enough for that yummy fluffy texture, spend enough time on the sketch and the backstory.
The sugar, the purpose
No matter which sugar you use, brown or white, little or a lot, it will always leave a sweet taste in your palette. Without the sugar, the pancakes would have to look for some other soul, some other purpose. To be honest, even savory pancakes wouldn’t hurt. But we can all agree that some primary taste must be present.
So is the purpose of your characters. Without a purpose, the characters would have a great texture like your pancakes but no taste of their own. Having such pancakes in your breakfast spread would serve no purpose.
The salt, the imperfections
Although it might not naturally occur to you to add salt to your sweet batter, the salt will always enhance the overall taste. Just like that, adding imperfections isn’t always something that would come to us naturally but it is very effective. Once you do that, adding hints of other virtues and fitting them won’t be as challenging.
Imperfections work miracles to make your character relatable. After all, we all have our own set of faults.
The batter for French crepes and north American pancakes would differ depending on whether we want a flat crepe or a fluffy pancake. You might have heard how the baking powder helps give the pancakes the texture they have. So it goes with your characters, you must add relevant mannerisms that would add a beautiful texture to them, making them more like real people or real aliens or even real mermaids…
The batter must cook well on the griddle for its transformation to a delicious pancake. This change is necessary. So is to have an evolving character who changes; develops depending on what’s going on with your story.
The pancakes you serve are better complemented with some fresh cream, maple syrup, honey or simply some jam. In the same way, when you write about your characters, you cannot go on writing blobs of character descriptions only. Your story will complement your description.
Just like the setting of your story needs to be embedded skillfully, so do your character descriptions.
Chefs tip: It will all come to you with enough practice. Try different varieties to find out what suits your story best. Lastly, never stop learning from works of the great chefs like Dickens or Ayn Rand.