Friday, October 16, 2009

Character Creation

Yesterday my characters for my new novel finally came out to play. (Only a writer will truly understand what that means.) And I found out so many fascinating things about them. Including the fact that my hero doesn't open himself up to strangers! Ooookkaayy! LOL But he finally made an exception. Nice of him.

I've been doing a lot of reading about character creation. Yes, a little OCD on the subject right now. But I am a recovering perfectionist. The internal editor is very hard to turn off. However, I've read good things from everyone who has tackled the subject.

However, I wanted to point out one book in particular that has helped me the most. Jeff Gerke's Character Creation for the Plot-First Novelist. You can find it here. Learning about the personality types and finding one that fits my heroine, hero, and antagonist (they are truly different) revealed a whole lot of ways conflict and friction between the characters, inside the characters, and through their spiritual journeys can play out in the story. It opened a whole new world to me.

Jeff's method has many questions to answer throughout the template, and then leaves space for summaries of each section. At the end you're ready to write all you know about that character from his/her point of view. At first I felt overwhelmed looking at the template as a whole, but as I worked yesterday, I found that it really did free me up to write as each of those characters. So cool!

And of course I'm already figuring out what works for me in this method and what other things I need to incorporate into it in order to make it work for me. That only emphasizes the fact that as writers we are all unique in our approaches to writing fiction. It reinforces the wisdom in learning from many different writers to see what works for them. Then I can determine what works for me and throw out the rest.

Now back to meditating on plot twists and conflicts while I clean house today.

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