One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other. Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.
This week’s topic is:
How do you go about building realistic – yet interesting – characters for your stories? Do you have a set plan for always including a character for comic relief amongst your other, more serious characters? How do you decide what flaws to give each character? Do you introduce your own personality into your characters?
Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.
Do you have an idea you think would be a great topic for a future The Writer’s Circle post? Do you have a question you’d like to ask our authors? Fill out this form to submit your ideas and questions:
So far, and I am fairly new at writing (one novel down and another in the works), my characters develop as the story unfold, more around events and the tensions of the world created than because of inherent traits I planned for them from the get go. It’s a rather organic process.
I usually do add parts of my personality in my characters, however tiny a part that might be, but that’s more an after the fact realization than something planned.
I ‘m thinking about trying to plan my third book more, before I start the actual writing. But honestly I am afraid it might block the creative flow by rigidly setting too much from the beginning.
Hmm, I don’t think I’ve really thought too much about how my characters develop, at least, not in the way I’ve really thought about plot development, etc.
I do worry about my characters not seeming realistic. I tend to take bits and pieces from the everyday people I meet and those whom I eavesdrop on… uh, I mean, see and hear in passing when I’m out and about 😉 I try to avoid dropping bits of my own personality into my characters, because for me, I think that’s a bit of a slippery slope towards a Mary Sue.
I do include some stock characters–protagonist, antagonist, confidante, and humor. Then it’s a battle to balance them. They have to fit or they are cut.
My own personality is definitely present in my current protagonist. I’m hoping I’ll be able to quell that a little in my next series, as I don’t want all of my protagonists to be…well, me. I also need to make her more flawed, like I am, though. The one complaint I’ve heard about my new novel is that my main character is almost too good at everything. I like her too much and forget that she’s a teenager. I need to “dirty her up” a little in the next book. 😉
I don’t necessarily choose a “comic relief” character, especially not in the series I’m working on now, as it’s a post-apocalyptic story in the young adult genre. But I do infuse a little humor into all of the main protagonist type characters – humor, to me, is a part of survival. Making light of a desperate situation is a way of keeping sane.
I have some character development case studies up on my blog if anyone’s interested. My process is pretty weird and organic, not sure how helpful it is to anyone else.
I have just begun to dip my toes in the pool of fiction so I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience to draw upon. However, as many of the other contributors have noted, it is a very organic process for me. I let the story dictate exactly how the characters develop alongside the plot. I think it is inevitable that many of the characters I create either exhibit my own personality traits, or have personality traits that I would like to be embellished in my real life self.