Writing Meme: Day 9- Creating Characters

9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

Oh, Isis in heaven- how do I describe this?   It’s such a long process of discovery.    It often begins with images of a person and lines of dialogue popping into my head.   Other times, the story idea will come first, and I will think- who would be the best characters to create, to invite to take part in this particular tale?

Once I have an idea of a character, I often like to create an astrological profile of them.  Not a full chart, but their sun, moon, and rising signs, so I have a clear picture of their outer mask (how they perceive the world and are perceived by others), their general personality, and their more hidden wants, desires, and fears.

But as I said, it’s a long (very) long process, because my characters will change (and hopefully deepen even further) through each subsequent draft.   Sometimes their original essence that I envisioned remains, and other times they are so utterly changed by the end that it is hard to believe they came from me.

Not being a parent,  I imagine it’s like one passes on their DNA and some characteristic traits to their offspring.  But then as the child grows, it becomes quickly apparent that they are their own being.  And then come the fights.  “I won’t do that!  You can’t make me!!!”  Feet stomp down the hall, door slams.   And you sigh and realize you have to revise your manuscript again.

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Published in: on October 2, 2010 at 9:16 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I struggle with names, but characters themselves seem to appear, fully formed and in high spirits, just waiting for me to capture their essences. I have to tease their names out slowly, but the personalities are there. The nuances develop as we go, like the proverbial onion skins revealing new layers, but I’d know these jokers if I passed them on the street. 😉

  2. Heya DD,

    I love the analogy of the onion. That’s a perfect way of putting it. 🙂


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