The Character Creation "Screen"
Before I jump into my next few discussions I just want to say...wow, it's been a busy month! Summer semester is down and Fall semester is in full swing. Yikes! My two jobs are pulling me every which way, and add on friends, extra activites, and homework, and I'm a busy bee! Of course, excuses are lame, so I've been busy getting my first and second books revised/copyedited once again as well and they are now in the final publishing phases. Be on the look out for those! And as always, I'm chiseling away at my third book, so don't fret those of you who have been eagerly anticipating it; I will have some morsels of it out for you to chew on before its release!
Now, before I continue with the discussion on novel writing, I wanted to diverge down the twisted, rocky, and treacherous path of character creation. Those who have played Dungeons and Dragons, or any MMO, may have this down to a science, but those who have not had the opportunity may not be as fortunate! ;)
Characters require "character". I discussed this concept in my post "Character of Characters". Every character should have hopes, dreams, ideas, desires, and goals. This concept is known as agency. Agency makes them who they are, whether they're human or elf or dwarf or alien. Arguably, even secondary and background characters should be created/written with agency in mind. This will allow the fullest and richest experience possible, both for the reader and for the writer.
"But how do I create a character?" you might ask. Well, I won't lie, main characters require a compelling story arc that will leave readers feeling satisfied. Your job as a writer is to make sure the main character is fleshed out enough to fulfill the needs of the plot, story arc, and reader's satisfaction.
Character creation is tricky of course, that's another reason why not everyone sits around penning books. Characters are often an extension of the plot, so if you have a plot outline, you may be able to create your charaters off of that. For example, when I began work on The Atonement Trilogy, I developed the plot's concept first, main characters and others came after. However, sometimes it can be the opposite. On a concept I am currently brainstorming, I developed the character first, and the plot outline followed.
Therefore, there is no magic potion to creating a character. Take inspiration from the people around you to mold the character. Does he/she have a purpose in the story? How will the character affect the plot and vice versa? Build the character first or plot first and work them together. Construct the character's agency as if they were a person living outside the pages. Characters are a part of you. Sometimes when you create a character, they recreate you.