Today’s block breaker is particularly useful to reveal a character’s motivation and their potential next moves. Wherever you’re stuck, write a ‘diary entry’ from your character’s POV. Even if it doesn’t make sense for them to drop everything and whip out a notebook, imagine what they would say if they could. Try writing entries for every character in the scene– give them voices that suit their personality, recall what came just before and what their mind state is. The same event could affect people in very different ways.

For an example, here are some entries from an epistolary story of mine where the characters describe their arrival to a tropical island.

Starting a new journal for this expedition. We just landed on Isla Diana this afternoon, now we are at dusk. The July weather is fine, warm but not sticky nor stuffy thanks to the altitude and the sea breeze. Saw an interesting moth on the way into the villa, wingspan as wide as my hand, a cream color with violet or perhaps blue markings. No chance for further observation as I was rushed inside by the others.

-Character A

Arrived at the island yesterday. I don’t think I’ll bother trying to write— well, anything beyond these journal entries for a couple days. There’s no sense throwing myself back into work so soon. I can’t believe this is real, that we really made it here. It looks just like we’ve stepped into a Rousseau painting, as Louis keeps saying. Thick lush vegetation, teeming with life, the haunting calls of unknown animals echoing on the ocean air. I wish I was more the outdoorsy type, as beautiful as it is around here.

– Character B

At the island at last. What a miserable trip it was, the five of us rocking around on that dingy like unfortunate slaves. I stayed in bed as long as I could get away with, and not for any kind of fun reason. At least early in the trip we worked in some games of cards and had a decent conversation or two. Today I wore my fuchsia silk shirt, though it was far too warm for the matching jacket.

– Character C

Character A is an amateur naturalist, Character B is a depressive author, and Character C is a frivolous noble. Characters A & C are eager to move on to new events, whereas Character B is more reflective, and will be slower to jump into an adventure.

Let your characters pour their hearts out and reveal things they never would to another person. Even minor characters could have something to say. The 2-dimensional bit player might have an intriguing secret you hadn’t noticed before.

Click here for the previous block breakers…

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