Before I write, I think a lot about characters. I feel that if a reader can relate to a character and form an emotional relationship with that character, then this is a good foundation upon which to build my stories. The majority of the time I write scribbled notes in an A4 writing pad about each character, and I always think about the following attributes:
- Character – are they a good guy or bad guy or important or minor? This is my general overview.
- Personality – do they giggle? Are they helpful? Are they shy or assertive? What makes them angry? Are they an optimistic person? I ask myself more and more questions about the character.
- Background – where do they come from? Are they rich or poor? Did they have a loving upbringing or a difficult one? Who are their friends, if they have any? In doing this, I try to create a back story.
- Appearance – the obvious one. What do they look like? What is their physical appearance? What clothes do they wear? Do they have any nervous tics? How do they move? What does their voice sound like? How do they smell?
- Interests – what do they like or not like? Do they have any hobbies?
I researched how other writers create characters. Stephen King the horror writer said, ““I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the BLAH loose”. What do you think the BLAH is? It’s ‘monsters.
Other points I consider:
- Stir in some complexity – think about how you behave with different people. I am a very different person with my mum than I am when I am playing sport, for instance.
- Give the character a (forgivable flaw) – after all nobody is perfect.
- Put the character in a painful situation – write about how your character would react.
Once I have done all this, i am ready to unleash my characters on the world!