Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Inspired Tuesdays - The Birth of Your Character

The muse must be drifting around the blogosphere dropping the topic of character development, because it's turned up in at least two of the blogs I watch, and now it's turning up in mine. I'll have to say, I love this topic! It's one of my favorite parts of writing/story-telling. There are so many wonderful suggestions, tips and techniques that you can get very happily distracted going through them all. And now I get to share with you mine! This is an Inspired Tuesdays topic (which is probably going to turn into a mini-series of blog posts all about character development.)

If you'd like to see the two blog entries that really inspired this topic, they are: CRAFT: Character Development Part II by Margo Kelly, and Some Thoughts on Naming Characters by Kirsten Hubbard at YA Highway.

Now, on to the topic! Most of you know when you create a character, you name it, you give it a personality, you drop it into your story and build a plot around it. But, what happens before all of that? First you have to get that crazy, brilliant, amazing idea that gives birth to your character. That idea can be a creeping, misty imagining or it can be a blazing supernova of inspiration, but however it comes, once it's there you have to see it to fruition.

How do you get that idea? What first inspires that lightbulb to pop over your head and spread that 'eureka!' grin over your face?

There really isn't a formula for getting the idea that births your character. You simply have to be aware. Observe, read, watch movies or tv, browse the internet for something interesting - anything that will get the creative juices flowing. And always be ready for when that idea plops down to make a cozy, accepting place for it.

I got the idea that inspired my MC Lividia through tabletop gaming... that failed. I'm a gamer girl, and in college some years back I was about to participate in a campaign of Whitewolf's Changeling: The Dreaming. Then it all just fell apart. I was very disappointed. I had outlined my character, her personality, what she looked like, etc, but I couldn't use her. I knew she had a story to tell. I knew she was special. When I finally took the steps many years later to adapt her and make her the main protagonist of my first novel, it was like she'd finally gotten the voice she'd wanted all these years. She finally got to live her story. She was happy and I was happy because it turned into an awesome book (which I am currently looking for representation for).

What crazy, brilliant, amazing idea brought about your character's birth?

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