What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Character Study Part 2: Character Development
Our characters are complete fiction. Figments of our imaginations. Without us, they don’t exist. Yet they hold the power to take over our stories regardless of what we, as writers, want. We create them to be strong individuals with strong personalities, and before we realize it, these strong personalities take over.
When creating a character, where do you start?
Is it with their background? Is their personal history mapped out before you start writing? We know their current emotional conflict is important, but what about their backgrounds?
Do you create their motivation before you create their physical description?
For some reason, once I start a character outline, their physical description just happens. I never put too much thought into what they look like. They just appear in my head.
What about values? Do you list their values above their fears?
Do you spend as much time working on their bad traits as you do their good? Or vice-versa?
Do all your characters share an underlining trait?
When you have it all on paper, are you capable if summing up their personality in one word? How about three?
I’d love to hear your process.