Sunday, August 12, 2007

Character Development

When creating a world in which to play, there are thoughts about societies and moral structures, traditions and technological developments, that all must be laid out but the characters that move about in this construct are, for me, the most fun to play with.

Urban fantasy is typically written from the first person point of view (POV), which in general, I did not use too frequently until now. First person POV offers an excellent way to get into the head of your main character, intensfy both the emotions and the action, and provide a surprise or two for your readers.

But first person can also be a bit limiting if you want to provide some in-depth details about some of your other characters, particularly when your main character is a bit biased -- or just plain hates one or more of the other characters.

Interestingly enough, that is where Tristan comes in. I had a character appear that played a major role in my main character's past. Unfortunately, my main character has a deep loathing for this other character and resulted in some rather one-sided rants and comments.

Characterization comes from actions, thoughts, words, and how other characters interact with other characters. Mira's (my main character) thoughts, actions, and comments all provided nice information about Sadira (the minor character), but I wanted a little more detail -- more proof that Mira just wasn't going off the deep end.

Thus, Tristan was born. His job was to interact with Sadira outside of Mira, and show that there was more to Sadira than what Mira was saying. But Tristan surprised me. His existence provided an unexpected insight into Mira's own past as she was forced to face some ugly skeletons that she had packed away.

Tristan continued to surprise me in many ways as the story unfolded. His single job was to act as foil to Sadira, but somewhere along the way he developed a complete personality, a soul, a moral fiber, a history, and in the end, a life of his own. By the end of the book, he surprised me yet again. Despite the fact that he appeared somewhat late in NIGHTWALKER, he became one of my favorite characters.

There are some writers that say the characters they create are just that, creations that will do their bidding. For me, my characters are so much more. If you know them well enough and breath enough life into them, then they become living, breathing entities with drives and ambitions and fears. I just try to act as a guide, push them in a direction and remind them of tasks that must be accomplished. How they get there and what they have to do to reach that point, it honestly feels like they decide on their own. There are times I am proud of them and others when they disappoint me, but they are always my family and friends.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I have characters who take on a life of their own, including ones who need a title and plot. Makes life interesting. Carol