Writing Excuses Season 10, Episode 4: (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/01/25/writing-excuses-10-4-qa-on-ideas/)
Take one of the ideas you’re excited about, and then audition five different characters for the lead role in that story. Make sure they’re all different from each other.
For this exercise I didn’t pick one of the story ideas from the previous exercises, rather a short story idea that I am trying to write. I had a conversation with my sibling yesterday, and decided that my main character, Garret, would need a mage traveling with him for part of the journey. I am using this exercise to audition mages for him, and each brings something different to the table, I think.
What I was really interested in exploring was the different motivations that the mage would have for coming along with Garret – so mostly backstory. My next pass would be to explore more the ROAARS traits I learned about in the Writing The Other book and workshop.
ONE: Young male who is just out of an apprenticeship with an older mage. He doesn’t have much power, but has a few areas he is good at (communication, blocking gods), but he would really rather work with creating magic imbued items. He doesn’t like people/ dealing with them, and would rather work with things. He agrees to accompany Garret because of the lure of an opportunity to study the medallion in the hopes of seeing how it works, and maybe reverse engineering it, and kicking off his career that way.
TWO: Middle-aged woman, a refuge of Kendar. In Kendar, all women with the magic spark are required to be clerics, and the men mages. She left Kendar at an early age when she decided she didn’t want to be a cleric. She snuck across the border with the aid of a beloved mage Uncle, who helped her to train. Uncle recently died, and left her alone. She has decided to travel the kingdoms now that she is not tied to her Uncle’s whims, and this job seems like it could be interesting.
THREE: Middle-aged man, who was one of the apprentices / young mages who helped the elder mage to create the medallion. He has second thoughts about leaving something like that with a child (there are better uses for such a powerful object), and is trying to get it back. He found out Garret is a mercenary now, and has been trying to find him. He just found the mercenary camp, and had planned on following the group Garret was leading on their next mission, but Garret bailed.
FOUR: Young female mage who hates the gods. She has twin siblings (brother and sister) and their life was hell as people distrusted them. It impacted the entire family. When she was found to have the spark, she went mage, not cleric, because it was the gods and clerics who made life difficult for her siblings/ family. She wants prestige and power so she can counter the negative impact the twins have had on the family name. She is trying to get practice blocking the gods, so this is a great job for her. She is a mediocre magic level.
FIVE: Older mage who believes the gods shouldn’t be controlled. Dislikes the fact that the priest are collecting artifacts, and once she hears that Garret thinks the medallion was stolen to take it to the priests, she’s in. Her aim is to take it, and destroy it.