Friday, September 25, 2009

Building Your Main Characters

I'm currently working on building my character profiles for my WIP, Parlor, and thought I would talk about the process in which I'm going about doing that. I've started off with the basics of what he looks like. When doing that, I like to flip through magazines (usually Teen magazines to get the right age group) and get a sense of hair, eyes, clothes, etc. One thing I stay away from, celebrities. I don't want a celebrity's manners, personality, etc. to rub off on me when building a character, specially my hero/heroine. I want him/her to flourish and become their own person. My goal is to get a good picture of what my character looks like and I usually start to set up a character board with pictures from the magazines.

Once I have the look of the character, I can start to picture him/her in my head. A lot of the character's personality should come from the story. How would this person deal with the situations I throw them into? Do they want to be the hero, or are they reluctant to start on the journey I've set them? A lot of times, just thinking of the plot of the book and what the character will have to go through helps to shape them. Thinking about what they like/dislike, what they are comfortable in (clothes wise) and what they're hobbies are also helps give you a better idea of who this person in your head is.

I think what rings true in a book is when the author believes in their character. This person a writer has created has to be comfortable with the character living in their head for the duration of writing the book. I'm not saying you have to love your character at all times, but you have to respect them for who they are even if you might not agree with a path they want to take.

So I ask you, what exercises do you do to build your main character?

1 comment:

wildink said...

One of the exercises I've tried is drawing a silhouette of each character to help me visualize the characters in relationship to eachother, then writing notes about each character's main goal, yearning, strengths, weaknesses. Getting to know the characters is something I really should spend more time on before I start writing. When I run into a problem with the writing it often has to do with not knowing the characters well enough.