30 Days Of Writing Questions
09. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.
I haven't created so many characters yet, so it's hard to say if there's any method in doing what I do. But as far as I can define, here are my steps:
- The story. I've heard from some other authors, where the character(s) came first into their mind and then they developed a plot around him/her/them. Until now I haven't experienced that.
- The name. When you freshly met someone, you introduce yourself. It's easier to get in touch with the new person, when you know the name, isn't it?
- The basics. Something like age, sex, nationality.
- The look. The visual person I am I need an image, but the look can change during the writing process, when I feel that the new styling suits better to the character.
- The background. When her father and her godfather made their first appearance, I added a part of Cathryn's family tree. Names, ages and occupations of her parents, how they met and how their past (could) influence her (future) behavior. The same with her godfather.
- The qualities. I already know more of her strengths, her flaws and her fears than the reader does. In one case I've already mentioned one fear on the edge. I know, I need that information later on for an important key scene.
Like described in WQ-06: Writing Habits, I write my novels on the computer, but I use extra sheets of paper, where I capture the different information about my main character(s). It's a big mixture of tabular information, mind maps and scribbled notes on post-its. That's a my help avoiding goofs, e.g. Cathryn first was a blonde, when I wrote about the look of her parents, she had to became a brunette. Then I knew, what and that I had to change something.
I wonder ... doing FIRST all those techniques and questionnaires with the result of a fully developed character and THEN ask yourself: Here we have you, which are the adventures you're suitable for? ... is that really logical and/or possible?