All right, writers … let’s chat.
But wait – don’t run off, non-writers. I want your opinion too. You read, don’t you? So you’re as important to writers as words. More so. Without you, why do we write? If we don’t do it for the entertainment of others we are self-entertaining … and self-deluded. ALL writers want to be read.
So, I’m nurturing ideas for another book. I have one in edits, one in progress (yeah … right), and a couple of others sitting at a fast simmer on the back of my brain. One of the things people say about books they love is the characters are real, identifiable, lovable, despicable, and tangible. And if I want to be successful writer – and I do – that’s a skill I need to hone to the highest degree possible. Hence this post.
My question to the writers is: How do you create your characters?
And more than this, how do you develop, nurture, get to know, your characters? Their traits, habits, names, occupations, tendencies … everything?
I know a lot of writers who talk about how their characters create themselves, how they make themselves known to the writer, how the creation guides the creator. I know that’s a lot of hooey too. C’mon, let’s be honest. These are fictional people; we create them. We name them, give them their characteristics, and their physical appearances. We give them their jobs, their passions, their goals and obstacles. No more goofing off here – we’re all writers.
Now, maybe it seems your characters emerge without any effort from you, the writer. ‘Cause you’re a natural. Or you’re just great at characterization. If that’s what you mean, and you articulate it by saying the characters “come alive” – well, more power to you and your incredible imagination. Mine doesn’t work that way; I have to pour effort into this. I don’t have characters who spontaneously generate in my head, fully formed and fully developed. I have to do the work, beat the muse as it were, squeeze the juice out.
Maybe you can’t help me, but maybe you can. Maybe you’re someone who has a method, a working formula you use for coming up with characters. How do you connect them to the real world? What do you do to decide their occupations? Their interests? Their tastes? Their speech patterns, their physical tics, their eccentricities?
How do you go about getting to know their characters?
Readers, what about you? Most readers will identify with characters who have weaknesses, flaws, problems. What are some of your favorite characters in literature and why? What was it you loved about them? How did the author of the character create a believable and convincing person you can be fond of?
Sound off, y’all … I really need help with this, I think.
All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Hidden Hinges, and the Messy Death of a Metaphor (lilithsaintcrow.com)
- Stop Writing Mid-Sentence to Ward Off Writer’s Block [Writing Tips] (lifehacker.com)
- Games and Novels (hermenaut.org)