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Every second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR focuses on the art and craft of writing, from Shannon’s perspective or give you insight on her process as an author.  To catch up on all posts, check out the MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR portion of the website!  

This week features Shannon’s thoughts on constructing scenarios around character.

I was at a panel on writing and development at a convention recently. One topic that came up was the need to ask “what if?” in regard to developing a plot. I think this same question can be used equally well when developing characters. In the case of character development, raising the question in multiple ways reveals a lot about what makes the character tick; along the way, it may even help inform the plot.

The key phrasing would be “What if the character does something?” with “does something” being whatever you would be curious about.


“What if the character witnesses a murder?”

“What if the character didn’t go to college?”

“What if the character left someone standing at the altar?”

“What if the character doesn’t like ice cream?”

The questions could be as serious or as silly as you like. Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and think what if questions that you aren’t sure you’ll be comfortable answering. The more you ask, the better chance you have of getting to know a fully realized character.

Until next time,



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