Your characters are one of the most important aspects of your book and they deserve some love. So this week, I’m shining a light on your amazing creations.
There are a million and ten different ways to create a character. For me, my first glimpse of a story and it’s world tends to just pop up in my head- like a tiny little Gryphon bubble was just floating around in my mind until it hit something, popped, and suddenly there she was. Scarred, tough, damaged and stubborn. She’s also endlessly kind to those in need, especially children. She relates more strongly to animals than to people, because her foster mother was a wolf, and people murdered her parents. Gryphon is dedicated to her work, to the point of excluding and neglecting other aspects of her life. She grew up feeling different, and eventually “stopped caring” (presented a tough facade) about the judgement she felt from others due to her success and survival as a hunter.
Ibbiana had two bubbles – one bubble inside the other. The first bubble revealed how a young girl exists in a post-apocalyptic world, the second revealed a deep, burning belief that she alone can protect her family from those that hunted her kind. (You’ll learn more about this soon enough)
Alex and Ben came to me in a dream. They were running from … something. I didn’t know what back then. But they did something amazing, they pulled real, tangible items from their imagination within two categories. Hunters (are you noticing a theme here? heh…), and gatherers. Offensive and defensive. Survival by different means. Alex and Ben, like most dreamweavers, teamed up- one hunter and one gatherer. Ben, the gatherer has a fruit speciality. He’s very talented at pulling apples out of thin air. Alex loves the crossbow. And thanks to her hunter’s gift, she can pull a nearly endless supply of arrows into existence. They have limitations, of course, Alex can’t bring food over, and Ben is hopeless at conjuring weapons. The reason they exist in a twosome is that any more than that and they may as well paint a massive target on all of their backs. Once their powers manifest they are forced to go on the run.
For my supporting characters, they too pop up at random moments. Sometimes surprising me at random moments- like when Talon arrived on the scene – sarcastic and defensive. Or when Brielle was created, cousin to Gryphon and at first glimpse, very delicate. Petite and blonde she looks like she’d faint at the sight of blood, she’s also one of the strongest healers in Ethendoral and is a member of the Gardai.
These characters are all very different from one another, and while they pop into existence, they still develop over time. (For example, Brielle was once named Meikah after a friend’s cat…) Gryphon upon the first draft was the only properly developed character thanks to my not taking a moment to say hi. Once I did (by creating a chracter motivation sheet), I learnt so much more than I could possibly imagine. I learnt all about Gryphon’s secret love of dresses, and her very internal resentment that her profession inhibits that love. I learnt that Kell has a massive family and that they all still live in Rivaneed where he was born. I learnt about my character’s passions and dislikes- all by sitting down and taking the time to get to know them all.
You may not be like me, you might come to know your characters in a very different way. Or you might be me a few years ago, writing characters they all sounded a little bit the same because I didn’t know their true personalities. Every single one of your amazing characters has their own little quirks (Like Noran resenting his own mother for an accident of birth) and my challenge to you is to sit down and discover ONE new thing about one of the clever little people that live in your mind. Speak to the voices in your head – you might just learn something new.
How do you get to know your characters? Do you write them and learn who they are as your story develops? Do you create character profiles in order to learn who they are before you even write a word? – Let me know in the comments down below how you get to know those amazing people that you create out of thin air.
As always, go and write something