Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where do Characters come from?

I will be writing a series of post on how I write. Last post I wrote about how stories begin. The dawn of time... once upon a time… a dark and stormy night…okay maybe not. When I begin a story, or after I’ve answered my “what if…” question, I already have a certain awareness of my protagonist and what horrible predicaments I’m going to put her through. I then have to begin thinking about my cast. During the first draft, when I’m writing like a mad woman with no real idea where I’m going, I don’t usually think too much of my cast. Characters simply appear, materialize, and I just know that they have to be there. When they first appear they simply serve a purpose: to move the story forward. But then I have to dig deep to give them their own identity.  I will post later about character bios.

Where do our characters, come from? My characters begin life through me. When I'm brainstorming my characters actions and reactions to the plot I often find myself asking, well, what would I do? I generate information from myself. Now, I am not as courageous as my character, or athletic, but if I were, what would I do? I also use people I know and people I don’t know. I like to tag my characters with someone concrete only with my own specifications. I use characters in movies. **blushes**

I have a crit partner who said my protagonist in my short story seemed like a cross between Han Solo and the Riddick. I didn’t do that on purpose, but I was going for that bad boy thing and I guess it worked. I wouldn’t mind people thinking of him that way.

Other characters form from the imagination. When I think of this character I think of Gollum (I’m a Lord of the Rings fan). Gollum is computer generated. Though all your characters come from your imagination, this character has no limits but the ones you set.

Where do your characters come from?


  1. Good question! My characters start out as a slice of me, but they soon take on a life of their own. Usually one very different from mine.

    Linking back to when I post tonight.

  2. In my first novel, the protag was a lot like me. Too much. This time, i'm pulling her characteristics from all over the place. I guess first I wrote what I knew, now I'm branching out and exercising my imagination more.
    Great post!

  3. I cheat. I use my kids and their friends. Little did they know I was studying them for my books.

  4. I hear you Lydia. I can never be a protag, I'd run my sidekick over.

    LM that's a good one. I do the same, but they know it. Thanks for joining and sharing.


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