Friday, November 18, 2011

How I make my characters real

While taking the time to get back into the habit of writing, I realized that it is not all about just getting all the words in my mind onto my screen. There are things that I have to do to create a fantastic story. I have to build a string foundation of characters and history, create walls of drama and a roof of conclusions. Only by doing all of these things can I finally say that I have written something that I would want others to read. Of course, there are a ton of different websites and guides on how to write. This is not on of them. You may find some insight here, but this is more of a glimpse into my world more than a teaching tool.

Of all the books I have ever read it was the characters I fell in love with way before I fell in love with their adventure. Of course you say, the characters are way more important than the story itself. Any story can be great with the right characters. Yes, I say, but do you know how I make great characters? No?. I role play.

Yes, I role play. Nothing dirty mind you, I role play the characters themselves. If you ever think about role play usually you think of geeky gamers making up these warriors or mages fighting in this fantasy world. Although there are large role play groups that do just that, I believe that all writers are role players themselves. We all make characters up, we put them in situations, then we use the characters to work through the situation. Not only do we give these characters adventures, we come up with these histories for them as well. From my point of view, all writers are role players.

To be a great role player, there are a few things that you must do before you use your character, create them. This is exactly what am doing and will write in upcoming blog posts. I come up with some basic information about the character such as age, sex, height, occupation. I also look into the character's personality a little bit. As I do this, a history for the character begins to form in my head. Once we have this basic stuff all hashed out, I interview the character.

Just like an interview on a news show, we go through and ask the hard questions. These can help to really open up the character, for us to understand how these people work and how they would react in different situations. These interviews are what I am going to be posting here on the blog.

There really is no wrong way to go about creating these characters and giving them a history, as long as you do do it. Our ultimate goal is to create a character the reader can fall in love with, hate and relate to all at once. This means we accept these characters for the good that they do and their flaws. Especially their flaws. They would not be interesting if they were perfect. It would be like Superman without the Kryptonite, no one could beat him. There would be no reason to even read the story then.

I think I have rambled enough here. This was a little glimpse into the workings of my mind, it is a little distracting at times, but I do get some pretty good ideas out of it in the long run. My next post will be an interview with Jo. If you have read any of my other posts you will recognize him from the Prologue of my WIP.

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