|Boogey Music by Donelle Lacy|
To start, let's talk Character Names. Sometimes characters name themselves. I love when that happens. Other times you need a little help from a name generator or a baby name book. I usually name my characters through brainstorming, and combining names I already know with odd letters and sounds.
Here are two sites that can help you name your characters:Behindthename gives you real names from various cultures,
and Seventhsanctum is a name generator for world-building. You can name characters, realms, abilities and many other things. (some of these are pretty silly, but hopefully they'll spark your imagination to take over and lead you to something great.)
Now I'd like to move on to Character Personalities. This is a trickier topic. In a character development class at SCAD, the professor gave us a list of questions (in the form of a large Word document) we had to answer about our main character - and really our secondary characters too. This list included the character's appearance, motivation, favorite food, political stance, hopes, and fears - lots of things I don't always think about when I first sit down to design a new character.
A little tip about creating a character's personality: Start with a personality you already know - a character from a movie, book, video game, anime, a person you know in real life, and build on it. Edit it and expand on it. Use yourself - your own fears, hopes and dreams, your anxieties, and divide those among your characters.
I like to start with a 'type'. It might seem flat, but it's a foundation. I ask myself "Do I want my MC to be timid or bold? Prideful, sensitive, wild or reserved?" Once I have her type, I launch into polishing it up, rounding her out and giving her layers. My favorite characters are those who surprise me, who are flawed and quirky and sometimes let their desires or fears get the better of them.
Every character is driven by a force. You simply have to figure out what that force is. Is it fear, love, hate, revenge, justice? Is she seeking something?
Margo Kelly is doing a brilliant blog series about character development and she offered these three questions for us to answer:
1. What lie does your character believe?
2. What will your character avoid at any cost?
3. What does your character know that no one else does?
I love how compelling these questions are. I hope this information helps with your character development, and wish you wonderful writing!