Monday, March 12, 2012

How I develop my characters...

WORD FOR THIS POST:

Characterization (n):1.portrayal; description: the actor's characterization of a politician.
2.the act of characterizing. 3.the creation and convincing representation of fictitious characters
 
Some characters are easier to develop than others. While there are many books on how to make your characters believable, this is my approach:)
 
1. I stalk family members, friends and co-workers and write their little quirks, habits, accents, phrases they use. They don't know but I'm watching all the time (well, I guess they know now if they read this).
 
2. I figure out what role they will play in the story. 
 - Are they the protagonist or antagonist. 
 - Are they in the main story or the back story
 - Do they have an occupation, hidden talents
 
3. I think about what they look like and who they are
- their sense of fashion
- physical description including scars, posture, crooked teeth etc...
- personality, fears, accomplishments, goals (these may change as the story develops)
- habits/mannerisms (ie: chewing a thumb, fixing their hair, snapping fingers)
 
4. I think about their background and what made them who they are
- how do they relate to the other characters and their surroundings
- what kinds of conflicts can I expect from their background, what they've been taught, how they were raised

That's pretty much the gist of it. Some characters come alive immediately and take over. Their names come to me right away and it feels like I've known them once in a past life. Others need a little work and nurturing. I feel like a mother all over again raising her babies.

Do you have a secret to developing your characters?

p.s. I've completed 6/26 posts for the A-Z Challenge. They are not in any particular order, I pretty much wrote for the letter that popped into my head. I hope to have another three done tonight. Have you joined yet? Are you ready and excited?

6 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I do something similar, including their weaknesses and strengths.
I'm working on my posts as well!

Cherie Reich said...

Your approach to characters sounds great. And I do like adding in quirks and such, although I sometimes add them as I'm writing the manuscript from the actions I'm doing at the time while writing. Heh.

M Pax said...

Great approach. One of the things I like to do is write a little bio of what each character was doing right before the novel opens & how they're connected with the other characters.

Ciara said...

I hope to start working on those posts in a day or so. I have to turn in guest posts firsts.

Annalisa Crawford said...

My characters are fully formed, much like the rest of the story. The name comes first, everything else slips into place.

I had to change the name of a character recently, and it really threw me. Luckily I stumbled across a great second choice name.

Luna said...

Awesome suggestions here! Thanks!
Luna