Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Obsessed with my characters lately!

I've already posted two prior blogs about characters, and character building, but I got to thinking...where do they come from?

I've heard so many authors discuss this topic. Several are like myself; they let the characters tell about themselves. Well, now that sounds pretty skitzophrenic when you think about it. After all, how does an imaginary being (I say being because they're not always human) tell about themselves?

This is how it works for me.

I sit down with an idea. As Florence Fois says, an idea that pops in my head from...wherever. Sometimes I see a person and think of a what if?. Other times it may be from a dream. Either way, as Fois says, it's an idea that must be loved and cultivated.

Great, now I've got this idea for purple people eater from the city of Christy. Now what? Well, obviously, the story needs characters, not just the problem and city.

So, I start writing. At this point, I've yet to plot. I do it backwards most of the time.

The first page will usually be trashed eventually, but it gets my brain moving as to what I want to happen, and who I want it to happen to. Okay, so a strong willed, kick ass, moon eyed female will be the heroine. Great. But what about the hero? Will there be one in this story? Of course...what can I say, I'm a sucker for romance. Or maybe it's just really great sex scenes.

So, my male character turns out to be a medium height man, lean but muscular, with a bicycle mustache. How do I know this? Because when I'm writing I can picture the people.

I will literally close my eyes and see the scene play out in my head as I begin typing. The people I see in my head become my major players. When I first started twenty something years ago with just short stories, all the females resembled me, and all the males resembled a boy from New Kids on the Block. What can I say? My world hadn't quite evolved at that point in my life.

My current book started a little differently. My heroine was inspired by one of my close friends, Sharon. She's a tall, beautiful woman with long, curly red hair, and blue eyes. Now, my character is actually tiny - she's barely five foot two - but you get the gist.

Each and every single writer comes up with their characters in both a similar, yet different manor. I usually know starting the book approximately what kind of personality I want my key players to have. But, sometimes they surprise me and do something I'd never think them capable. My current heroine actually had a little meltdown recently. Being as she's hardcore and deadly with knives and swords, it kind shocked me. Guess even my characters are as flawed as myself.

Wow, that seemed a little rambling, but you get the point. Anyone want to tell us how you start with your characters? Or maybe you can explain better how the characters "tell" us about themselves.