In the last step you added some unusual characters to your story, but not so unusual that they couldn’t easily be explained.
In this step we’ll pull out all the stops and list some completely inappropriate characters that would take a heap of explaining to your readers if they showed up in your story.
In our example story set in an old western town, such characters might be:
Ghost of Julius Caesar
Pretty “out there,” right? Although you’ll likely discard these characters in our pruning step down the line, the process of coming up with outlandish characters can lead to new ideas and directions for your story.
For example, the town Marshall might become more interesting if he was a history buff, specifically reading about the Roman Empire. In his first run-in with the gang, he is knocked out cold with a concussion. For the rest of the story, he keeps imagining the Ghost of Julius Caesar, giving him unwanted advice.
Now’s the time to let you Muse run wild and drag some truly outlandish characters into your story. Don’t hold back, you can always axe them later, but you might just discover the most memorable character you’ve ever created and perhaps a truly original way to use them as well.
In the next step, we’ll begin the process of transforming your characters, even the outlandish ones, into real people, preliminary to deciding which ones stay and which ones go.
Excerpted from the book, Write Your Novel Step by Step