30 Days of Writing Questions – Day 9

9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

On the night of the full moon I draw a magic circle in chalk on my patio and then dance naked under the stars. Then I take a sheet of pristine white paper and spill a drop of blood for each character I want created.

Okay, I’m just kidding. Even if it was that easy I probably wouldn’t do it. It’d freak out the neighbours too much to see me naked. ;-)

My characters usually start with a name, then they reveal themselves bit by bit as the story progresses. That’s all there is to it, at least for me. To be honest, I don’t understand people who have to know every last detail about their character, from how long their mother was in labour with them, right down to the motivations behind every aspect of their lives. If it doesn’t pertain to the story, then who cares?

With DIF, my Myste story, we start with Hannah. Through the things she does I learn all kinds of stuff about her – she’s an accomplished musician, she’s been having a dating dry-spell, and she used to be engaged to a hot, rich, jerk. These are things I need to know about her. I don’t need to know how many years she went to college, who she roomed with, or what her favourite subjects were – she’s first chair flute in an orchestra, you don’t get that without being worthy.

Without going into details, she lets me know just how big a jerk the hot, rich, ex-fiance is. Her motivations are shown through the actions she takes now, not because she’s backed up by pages of useless information.

As far as I’m concerned, working out detailed character maps on each and every character is just another method of putting off writing the actual story.

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1 comment:

Nofretiri said...

*hehe* I'd like to see you dancing in the moon ... and join you, if it helps! :-)))

I guess in that case, we both are very similar with our characters, we let them reveal themselves!