Monday, August 31, 2015
How I formed my characters and what characterization means to me
I'm crazy about a good story, but without great characters it's impossible to hold my attention. When I started writing my first novel, Pretentious, I knew the plot and that my main character was a good boy who made a promise to his dying father that he would take care of his family. The promise made at twelve would have been difficult for any sixteen-year-old teenager to keep when hormones began awakening and other boys were playing sports, going to games, and taking girls to dances at school.
I also knew that he would be very mature where running the family business was concerned, but very young emotionally. So my character gets confused and frustrated, and he has a temper. Another thing I knew about him was that even though he is a born leader, his goodness would constantly wound him. Once all that came together - in like three minutes, Danny Rosani was born.
His co-star was a little harder. It took me a while to understand Aryn, but her biggest flaw was more subtle. Rather than facing her problems, she runs away. Why? Because her Mother abandoned her leaving a deep seeded lack of trust of anyone truly being loyal or wanting her, but she's a strong girl on the surface and we pick up her issues as the story unwinds.
The image of Danny formed in my head, as did Aryn. I've found it hard finding the right images when making teasers for all my characters. I've had to change Aryn a bit because of it.
Another character that formed in my head was my angel in Veiled Memories. Ilan is a strong warrior who is on the immature side, leaning too much on his best friend and comrade who falls. He's powerful, willful, rebellious, heart-broken and frustrated, and a total sweetheart. He hasn't worked in more developed countries so at times he's quite naive. His partner is no nonsense and kept him in line until the day of his demise. It's no wonder Ilan falls in love with the woman from his next assignment, both of them are feeling really vulnerable.
I've studied emotion and gone over numerous character sheets taking what I found valuable in each, until I made one that is completely my own. It addresses things like scars and secrets, who knows those secrets, relationships with family, and even the style in which they dress. Something I picked up as important by watching some of the chiseled creations in anime. The character sheet also addresses what my characters learn throughout their journey.
I created a Beran in Reflections, A man who is half bear, who struggles with blood lust while he lives with a female centaur named Selene. The centaur is his natural enemy and he must live with the fear and guilt of a possible attack on the female he loves more than anyone else in the world..
My characters come from all over, but with the exception of one, they all began in my mind. I am unable to share the image that inspired my main character in The Covens of Misty Haven, but I fully intend to write the artist and ask for permission before the release date.
What is important about the creation of fictional characters to you?