Ice cream is good no matter how you scoop it. Personally, I’m a cookies n’ cream nut, or anything chocolate. Strawberry and Mint are pretty good, too.
Have I mentioned, there isn’t a bad flavor of ice cream?
When I went overseas I had the delightful experience of the ice cream man ringing his bell at 9pm. I’d race to the elevator and fourteen floors down.
What can I say, it was hot in Asia?
Realize my shock when the first time I was served ice cream on bread. A dense and flavorful bread, but bread? Actually, it tasted pretty good to this American Food deprived tourist.
There are many different ice cream flavors, toppings and serving styles. Without the variety we probably wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much.
As a writer, one of the worst things to hear from an editor, or agent is that you have vanilla characters. They are all alike, boring or cardboard. No one would even care if they got hit by a bus.
We could learn a thing or two from the ice cream man! Variety is the key. We think that different appearance means variety, but when you take the first bite you can tell if something is the same dressed up with a bit of food coloring. They can’t get away with that and neither can we.
What does the ice cream man know that we don’t?
*Showcase a variety of flavors. At the heart of each character they should be different. If you walk into a walmart store and watch shoppers it is obvious just by the way they approach shopping, how different they are. There is the guy who races through the store and crams things in the cart and the woman who is couponing while trying to get her children to get along.
Who they are and what they value is obvious in their shopping style. The man values time and efficiency. The woman values thriftiness and harmony.
Find the basic personality type of your character. What makes them unique? What do they value?
*Provide for diverse taste bud delight. Characters stand out more when we contrast them in the other characters that surround them. No one in your novel should be like your hero and heroine. They should stand out. If your heroine has a spitfire personality, then your other characters should be a bit different. You definitely would want a bland character with a dry humor to offset them.
Think of the stage of a play. Each character is different, or play writers wouldn’t bother to include them. You want to visually see the colors of your characters. Give your characters a personality flavor. The spitfire is red, the bland one with dry humor is beige, the cheery grandmother is yellow, the villain is black, etc. Then use that to help you frame your descriptions.
Don’t be afraid to let your characters have some contradictions. Contrast is good sometimes.
Characters all start with the same basic ingredients like ice cream, but we need to add the flavor. Sprinkle on personality quirks and things that make your character stand out. What are the colorful parts of their personality?
Everyone has something that makes them noticeable to others. Find that gem and draw it out.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? What is your favorite flavor of character?