I like to write. And I like to write fiction. One of my favorite parts of writing is creating a new character. This post will explain how this process happens for me.

First Stage: A Plot is Formed

For me, a character is usually born of a plot. Some writers are introduced to a character in their imagination, then they proceed to tell the story of the character. Most of my characters, though, come when I create a plot and then want someone to be the star of the show. In other words, some people find an actor and then write a script for them, and others write a script and then find actors.

Second Stage: A Main Character Begins to Form

As I think about the plot, my imagination plays with characters. First, I decide how I want the main character to be. For my current and first novel, I really wanted the character to be a boy around my age, just cause that came to me first and it was easier. Then I decided I wanted a side teacher character, and I first went with a man. Then through some more thinking, I decided this teacher character would be a woman.

Third Stage: The Character is Named

Depending on what the character is supposed to be, I give them a name. For some characters, they need a name that doesn’t exist in our world, or a good explanation for why they have a name from our world. Other characters require a futuristic name, or an old name. For my main character in this novel, he was supposedly set into the future, so I gave him a name that sounded slightly futuristic (Gavryn). The side teacher character was named Elise at first, then was given the name Esiw, which is wise spelled backwards, reflecting her wise spirit.

Fourth Stage: The Character Finds a Personality

Next, you form the character’s personality. For me, this sprouts from one main idea, then blossoms into a whole set of characteristics. For example, I wanted Esiw to be a wise teacher (obviously). Soon she became a rich character with intricacies and authentic problems.  With Gavryn, I just wanted him to be somewhat like me. Then he became a very thoughtful young lad, with worries and fears and a mind for deep thought.

Fifth Stage: The Character is Written

First of all, you must keep them consistent. If you introduce a foolish character in the first chapter and then show them being the wise hero, you better have a good reason. I keep consistency by familiarizing myself with the character and remembering their ‘tagline’ so-to-speak.

Then you have to let the character be a person. With one side character in my novel, I was going to have her be a very distant, quiet mystic. But as she was written… she became a lot less quiet and a lot more like Anne of Green Gables. That’s just how it works. If characters don’t have a life of their own, they’ll just be dead characters.

So that’s how I create characters! I just thought I’d log this so that I could see it when I was older and more of a writer. I hope you enjoyed reading!

 

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2 thoughts on “The Birth of a Character

  1. Per CONSISTENCY: changing a character for a “good Reason!” Ah, did you mean to imply a dramatic use of EUCATASTROPHE? Now I know you will have fun looking up this word. It was made up by J R Tolkein, and I very much like that he referred to Christ’s incarnation and resurrection as a Eucatastrophe, a reversing of the downward spiral of human history which began in the garden of Eden! Read the definition and see if it fits.

    [Pardon my Wiki-Ephiphany. “Eucatastrophe is a term coined by J. R. R. Tolkien which refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story which ensures that the protagonist does not meet some terrible, impending, and very plausible doom.[1] Tolkien formed the word by affixing the Greek prefix EU, meaning good, to catastrophe, the word traditionally used in classically inspired literary criticism to refer to the “unraveling” or conclusion of a drama’s plot.”

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