Random Wednesday: How I Create/Build My Characters

-Looks at title-

-Scratches head-

I don’t know exactly know what to talk about when it comes to how I create/build my characters.

I just create them because, to be honest, character building is one of the easiest parts of writing.

First, I create a spreadsheet and just brain storm different people. Give them a name, an age, and a purpose. “He feels stuck in his career and often too pessimistic enough to notice positive changes in his surroundings.” or “She is a gogetter but also thinks this other character is a total asshole and enjoys making his life miserable for her own amusement.”

Developing characters can  be a lot of fun and as I have found, can lead to a story just in itself. Character A is unhappy, why? Who made this person unhappy? Why did they do that action? What is character A going to do to fix it?

Also, google is your friend. There are a ton of character sheets out there to help build a character from, what is their favorite color to – if they went to college, what would they have studied?

Recently I’ve watched my husband assist people in building D&D characters. I noticed this is the same process. SPOILER: Titty Sprinkles from my “How to Name Characters” post and my song prompt serial is making an appearance. My offer to cosplay by wearing leather heart shape pasties was met with mixed reviews.

Here is the most difficult part of character building in writing: CONSISTENCY!

What ever you name your character, what ever they look like, they must be consistent through the story. Yes, characters can grow and change but it must be gradual and the reader must be able to follow along with these emotional changes. Happiness, anger, depression, hope – these are normal emotions and your character should show emotions through the story as the story unfolds. But your character should not go from wallflower to life of the party for no explained reason. Also if they have a talking pattern, they need to keep this pattern throughout the story. No, “I always enjoyed the theatre.” in chapter 1 to “Yup, love them shows.” in chapter 10.

Recently I read a series and one of the characters changed suddenly. From the last book to the newest installment, the character all of a sudden began cracking jokes while others commented how this was normal with an “oh, you” slap on the knee, “aren’t they funny?” But, this character isn’t funny in the previous books. I don’t think this person cracked a single joke. To be told in chapter 1 as characters are reintroduced “remember, this guy is funny!” it was jarring. I wanted to reach through the book and smack the author upside the head with their previous. Did you forget? You created this character, he was never funny.

In summary, characters are fun and easy to create. Have fun, be free, and make them however you want. But, when it comes to the story, stick with the character you created and don’t change them. When you edit, ask yourself “Should my character act this way in this situation? Is this consistent from earlier chapters?” If someone read a paragraph or dialogue to you omitting the names, could you pick out which character is which just by their actions and the words they said? If the characters are consistent, you should be able to.

Thanks for reading as always. Check in with the ladies to see their take on this topic:

Bronwyn Green

Torrance Sené

 

 

 

 

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