Creating Characters. Where the story begins.

Hey there, fellow writers, today is my first post on my writing process. If you’re looking for tips on publishing and/or marketing, sorry to disappoint you, this ain’t it. These posts will be about storytelling. I’m not going to tell you how to do it, I’m going to tell you how I do it.

I’ll start the series with some of the ways I find my characters. Characters can come at you from anywhere, and they will if you let them. As a confirmed people watcher I often find pieces of them in the people that pass me by. Here’s an example from one of my more recent books.
A friend and I were on our way to the city. Once aboard the ferry boat she took off with her camera and I settled behind the wheel with a Stone Age laptop. (paper and pen) Once the boat was loaded I noticed a very attractive young woman beside our car. She was dressed in purple leathers and sitting astride a purple motorcycle. She looked rather pensive as she gazed out over the waters. For just a moment she looked like a super hero from the movies. I turned to a fresh page and began writing.
No, I didn’t start writing a story, no chapter one. I started with a quick physical description and a few notes on her mood, her attire, her motorcycle, etc. I then moved on to some possible reasons for her mood. Could have been anything, but the story sprang from those few things. No, I didn’t talk to her, didn’t want to know her name or anything about her. I write fiction. I can’t bring too much of a person into the character. That’s not fair to the real person nor is it fair to the reader. No, I have to let my imagination supply the rest. So, I went on with the day.
Later on that trip I saw a girl in Starbucks writing. She was writing poetry. Hmm, okay, I can use that. In the bookstore a graphic novel about a demon hunter caught my eye. The word demons went in my notes.
So now I need to know a bit about this girl. Who is she? What’s her life been like? There’s a news story about a teenage runaway. Okay, that will work. What else? Okay, from my head, she joined the military, special forces, black ops, becomes disillusioned, gets out to go home. Time for her to heal old wounds and bury old ghosts.
Now she’s real. She’s the heroine of my book Hell Comes Home. A story about a kick ass woman trying to make a place for herself in a world gone mad.
So, that’s it, folks and fans, that’s how a main character is born in my world. This process may work for you, maybe not. Everybody works differently. The thing is, take a hard look at what works for you then find the strengths in that.
Best of luck in your writing. Oh, and if there is a topic you would like me to discuss, mention it in the comments. Feel free to ask questions too. Writer talk is on Wednesdays, Farm stuff is on Sundays.


6 thoughts on “Creating Characters. Where the story begins.

  1. That purple-leathered lady has me intrigued. I want to know more about her!

    My characters often come to me in the midst of drafting…sometimes, in the middle of a sentence! Or while I'm in the shower….but that's another story!

    So glad you shared, Pru – I didn't connect this blog to you, and I've been missing you! =)

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