The Writing Life: Character Development
If you write non-fiction, this topic may not have much appeal, but if you are a fiction writer of any genre, character development is job number one.
My characters write my stories.
I invest heavily on the front end, nurturing my characters to life.
Once accomplished, is sit back and let my characters do all the work.
Where I start depends on the character.
I could draw inspiration from an acquaintance or a relative, an actor, or even a random person I saw in a coffee shop.
I begin with physical attributes.
How old is the person?
What is the person’s appearance?
Does the person have any physical quirks or disabilities?
Many actors begin with the wardrobe.
Once they get into the clothes of the character, they begin to feel and experience the role.
Writing is much the same.
Once I have defined this person’s appearance, I have a conversation.
I ask what you might ask when you get to know anyone.
What is your name?
What are your likes and dislikes?
What is your central mission or desire?
What is keeping you from realizing that desire?
Once your character begins to assume a life of his or her own, you are ready to write.
I’ve never seen this process portrayed better than it was in the film, The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017).
The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the story of how Ebenezer Scrooge came to life for Charles Dickens.
Our characters are our best friends.
Nurture them well, and they will never let you down.