One of the questions I get asked often is “Where do you think of characters?”
Characters are always a fun topic for me because even when I watch tv shows or movies I act and discuss characters as if they’re real. Because to the author or the book or writers on the shows and movies they are real.
When you pick up a book or watch a movie you get a small sliver of each characters lives but what you don’t see are the endless notes and random facts about the character the creators undoubtedly wrote down.
It’s really easy to say you want to write a story about Jack the barber and he has black hair with green eyes. Simple, right? Well the hard part is knowing that when someone mentions lima beans Jack’s brow furrows and his top lip will always pull up in a sneer because his grandmother would force him to eat them as a child.
And now you think I’m crazy but my writers out there know exactly what I’m talking about. Creating a character isn’t about creating them in this one moment in time. For the author you create the entire back story. For me each character comes with a large set of questions.
I have my own questionnaires I’ve created over the years that are tweaked to exactly what I feel I need from each one of my characters and most writers eventually adapt a style that works best for them. Things like:
School year – yes school years because I may not mention dates in my books but my characters all have very real birthdays.
Some writers are super picky about characters down to the smallest detail and others know the big and let the rest flow. I fill out my questionnaire as if I’m the character answering the questions. It helps me a lot when I have to write in their POV. Some come from life and I build on them others are pulled completely out of thin air.
There really is no wrong answers when it comes to creating your characters, just listen to your heart. And my readers know we love our characters just has much as you do and to us they are real so keep arguing over why they do what they do cause in a special universe they are living out their lives!