Tea Parties and the Creative Process

Tea Parties and the Creative Process

Tea Parties and the Creative Process

When I sit down to do character development for a story or a doll (see photo below and YouTube channel) I like to do a little thing I call Tea Time.

This might be reminiscent of childhood tea parties, though I don’t think I ever really had pretend tea parties. Mine always included real tea, whether iced or hot, with finger foods, my cousins or siblings, and maybe a stuffed animal or two.

 

As an adult, I find that having a tea party with my characters really helps the creative process.

Amniese drinking tea and reading

Amniese drinking tea and reading

Basically I sit down with a  nice, hot cuppa and interview my character. There’s a lot of make-believe happening here, but that’s part of the fun. I pretend my character is sitting with me drinking their beverage of choice. The type of drink they choose can say a lot about the person/character. Say they aren’t a tea drinker, or they prefer cola, coffee, or something else. This information may seem insignificant, but if my character were forced to go to a café, it’s important to know what they would order for sake of consistency in the story.

 

While sipping tea I go through a series of questions, interview style, and jot down the character’s response. This method has surprised me with several characters. I thought I knew my main character really well, but then found out she was actually in love with the wrong person. Then it turned out he loved her back, which, changed the entire story—in a really good way.

 

I usually have a tea party after a rough draft has been completed. This way I already have a mold for who I think the character is and the way their story evolves. Through the interview process I learn about their likes, dislikes, their background, family, experiences. Any schooling, or lack of schooling. What fears keep them up at night, that sort of thing. It all comes down to what drives the characters to do what they do and what behavior patterns or ticks they have.

 

Afterwards I return to the story and do a second draft that will be the bones and heart of future versions. I repeat this last step until the work is complete and shining—but that’s another process for another post.

 

What sort of character development methods do you use? Feel free to share in the comments.

 

~Until Next Time

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