Blog chain post time!!! This post is brought to us by the brilliant Miss Abby, who wants to know:
Where do your characters come from? And once they’ve been introduced to you, how do you get to know them?
When I was younger, I used to fill out these crazy character profile sheets and all that nonsense. But these days, my characters sort of speak to me. I hear their voices first. Then, as I write, I get to know them. Sometimes an ability or characteristic will come out of a need in the story, but most of the time, characteristics simply appear organically. For instance, in Deathday Letter Shane is a terrible driver. I never sat down and thought that Shane should or would be a terrible driver. It simply came up that Shane was a bad driver. He told me. Actually, Ollie told me Shane was a bad driver, Shane thought his driving was ace.
I suppose I’ve found that when I have a preconceived notion of who or what a character is, I find that it’s more difficult to expand beyond those notions. But if I discover the character as I go, I learn fascinating things about them that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned. It sounds all wishy-washy, I know, but pre-defining characters creates a mental block that I sometimes have problems working around. If I decide before writing the story that a character is mean, then I become caged in by that. And I hate being caged in.
So yeah. Is that an answer? Like life, I enjoy exploring, beginning with a blank slate, and getting to know my characters as I go.