When developing a peculiar character, give them an unusual trait, not a superpower. Think about the ways it could be a blessing in their lives but also a curse. Consider the ways in which their trait could make it difficult for them to be accepted by the people around them.
Sense of place is very important in my stories. Try starting your story with a locationa strange building, a town that seems normal at first glance but really isn't, a peculiar forest or mountain range. The more completely you can picture your setting, the better you'll be able to describe it. Think about the ways that place impacts your characters and shapes who they are.
You might use a photograph in your story, or you might not; it's not a requirement. If you do, just rememberit doesn't have to be a picture of your peculiar character. (It can, but it doesn't have to be.) It could be a photo of an object, a location, or an activity taking place. Try working the photograph into the story itself as an object your characters interact with. Use it to move the story along. The photo contains a mystery that needs solving, or the photo contains a code, or the photo is of some location that must be found, using only the clues embedded in the image.
Try building in a ticking clock. There is something important that needs to happen and there isn't much time to accomplish it, or something terrible is going to happen at X time unless it can be prevented. Not all stories need this, of course, but it can raise the tension and excitement dramatically in stories that feel like they're falling a bit flat.
The most important thing to know about your main character is: what do they want? Characters who don't want anything aren't very interesting. (Or realisticwe all want something.) Once you know that, then ask yourself: what's preventing them from getting it? That's what makes drama. Then: what tactics will they employ in trying to get what they want? Will they succeed or fail? And what do they learn from having succeeded or failed?
When writing the first draft of your story, just let yourself write and see what comes. Don't judge or second-guess yourself too much. It's hard, but you have to silence that little voice in your head that's constantly telling you the work is no good, the ideas are no good. (We all have that voice, even professional writers.) Once you have a finished draft of your story, then you can look at it with a more critical eye, and think about what might be changed or made better. The real writing happens during the editing and revision phase. But if you never write that first draft, you'll have nothing to edit or revise!
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