How Creative People Think ~ Character Creation

1 Jan

Oakaley dokaly, as promised after those few short commercial messages I am starting part two of the “How Creative People Think” series.

Today I am going to try my very best to explain to you what happens when writers create characters. I am going to sound crazy so let me start out be saying that no I am not on medication and yes I have been cleared by a mental health care professional.

To start let me just say that, as shown in part one of this series, writers and creative people in general think differently than others. We still hold on to a small part of our inner five year old (or in some cases a really big part of our inner five year old). So, having people become real and tangible to us in our heads is not something we find odd. We don’t think it’s weird when dialogue tags pop into our heads after someone says something. We don’t think it’s anything out of the ordinary to be talking to our characters in our heads. Or have them talking to us.

Yes, I know what I just said I have voices in my head, I self narrate, and narrate others in third person. I sound crazy, but all writers sound a little crazy when they talk about this stuff. That is the reason we avoid questions like this. Of course I don’t know why we call it that. Being crazy I mean, as we don’t find it odd when a small child has an imaginary friend he or she converses with. We find it cute, but I suppose that is beside the point.

All these things happen without warning and of there own will. I have no control over the fact that when I look at something beautiful I began saying in my head what I would put on paper to describe it. That’s not to say that I have characters running rampant in my mind, I do have certain control of how there story ends up and why they are the way they are. And I am not unable to silence them when I have to, but like I said in the previous post. We writers encourage these things. We desperately try to get them to talk to us rather than shut them up. I think my critique partner Carrie put I best when she said:

I feel that I get to know my people as I write about them, it’s just like going to visit someone that lives far away. The more you visit the more you know them.

We visit our characters in our minds. Try to have a better understanding of them so we can best write their stories. For me writing fiction in just like writing a biography. I have to know the person before I write about them. Now, when you begin writing a biography what inspires you to do this isn’t because you know everything about the person. What inspires you to write about them is usually one single act they have done, or maybe it’s just their name.

It’s the same thing with characters, with me at least, I always come up with stories by scenes. I’ll get some sort of scene in my head. It’s like walking into a room and witnessing an interaction that you have no idea how it came about. But you’re curious. Who are the people? Why are they here? How did they get here?

From there their personalities really take off. I find out there names (notice I find there names I do not pick them out. For me the characters already have names, I just don’t know them yet).

Then I ask them to tell me their story.

I come to know them. Then and only then can I truly write their stories. And sometimes, like with real people, they don’t open up and spill it all the first time you meet (The first draft is what I am talking about here people) You have to keep learning and “visiting” until you know them just as well as you know yourself.

That is how I create characters. I think to truly appreciate what it means I have to give you the definition:

CREATE: To cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

To cause to come into being. That right there is the key to characters and that is the most difficult part. The characters have to become real to you.

That’s how I view the creation of characters anyway. What do you guys think? Is this all me or do others see it this way too?

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2 Responses to “How Creative People Think ~ Character Creation”

  1. thewatersedgecarrie January 4, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    good voice dear:D i find myself talking to my characters more and more LOL 😉 this is a good thing i guess!!

    • nkeda14 January 4, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

      Yeah or you are just Crazy! LOL

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