So you have all this information either in outline, or paragraph, or full out character profile with pages of information about Fez, our main character. It’s exhausting. It feels pointless at times, and it is in some respects. Now put all that info away and forget about it. If you want to trash it, then do so, but get it out of the way.
Let’s say you have your idea for a story worked out, you have an outline, or something in your head about what your story is about, where it will go, and all that stuff. You know Fez is a part of this story. So, you plop him down in the action. Now what? Now is the time to see what Fez is made of. Now, we see how his traits and flaws come together to figure out the puzzle. I’m not a master pianist, I cannot pick up a sheet of music and play it like I’ve rehearsed it for weeks. I can play the piano, I can read sheet music (at sloth like speed), and I can play it like I’ve rehearsed it for weeks if that’s what I’ve been doing, rehearsing for weeks. So like Fez, I can start with what tools I have while working around my flaws to get to the end result. So what if Fez is slightly dyslexic, or can’t see well out his left eye, or is missing the tip of a finger, or whatever. He’ll figure a way around his own problems to get to the solution.
Kurt Vonnegut said, “Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.”
With all that backstory in your head you can figure out how Fez is going to react to certain things, but the interesting thing about your story is this isn’t something he can pull from his arsenal of knowledge of dodging bullies. He can uses some aspects of this knowledge, but that isn’t going to solve his dilemma. This is something different, and having something different means having to come up with unique ways to deal with problems. He probably has never intercepted plans that would destroy his town by clown faced terrorists. In attempts to warn his family he can’t. Why? He can’t remember anyone’s phone number. Why? Because all that information is stored on his phone that he left at home. Now he has to head out into the chaos of the town to retrieve said phone, but his crap car decides drop it’s engine on the pavement due to pothole he hits causing his rust bucket of a car to commit suicide. Stranded he has to continue his journey while phase two of the clown faced killers plan is set into motion causing more pandemonium. Thanks to his evasive maneuvers, computer skills, and comprehensive Pokémon knowledge Fez is able to save the day. Or, disrupt the terrorist clowns plans long enough to deliver the people he loves to safety therefore setting up the sequel, “Fez verses Clown Terrorists 2: Electric Boogaloo.”
That’s all for now. I hope to post something soon on side characters, bad guys and antiheroes.