Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Character Building

My fiction journey continues, I have my plot and storylines mapped out, I know where I am going. However, to make the journey worthwhile my travel companions need to be characters of interest, humour, allure - in a word, captivating. If I end up with a bore, someone one-dimensional with nothing to say of note, I in turn will become bored and we will never make it to our final destination. With this in mind I have become very choosy about the characters I take with me.

I decided to start with my characters' physical appearance - a pinched nose, full lips, glasses, tumbling wavy hair - their looks will help me determine their personality. Of course, there is quite a bit of input from my sub-conscious. Tucked away in the recesses of my mind are embryonic characters, with some of the mental and physical characteristics already in place; so, one influences the other. I decided that I need to be able to see them in more than my mind's eye. Not being able to create anything with a pencil and paper that resembles a human being (though if you need a new look alien, ask me to draw a child and you may have what you are looking for) I found a free photo-fit software to create them. I now have pictures of my main characters and when I need a little inspiration I look at the eyes of the character, and then see through them. 

Seeing through the eyes of the character requires more than their physicality, I need to know how they think and feel. In order that I do not contradict my characters later on, and to dig into their psyche, I have made a list of their likes and dislikes, their marital status, their education, their parents and so on. When I completed the 'checklist' I was more expansive than 'fave colour is blue'. Why is it blue? Does it evoke emotions in the character? Do they like a particular shade? 

Now I feel as if I know my characters, inside and out. They are not going to spring a surprise on me by suddenly reacting against type when in a certain situation (well I certainly hope not). Every day I look at their faces and try to see them through the eyes of the other characters and vice versa. One of my characters is physically beautiful, I have developed a crush on her...I am not the only one.

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