Monday Musings: Building the Character Part I

This is what happens when my mind is working in overdrive on ideas and future endeavors—I get more ideas for more future endeavors ;).

Since it is the half way point of the year I’m thinking that talking more about writing is a good thing. I’ll be here every day this month.

Today I’m talking building characters. Every book has them, every book needs them, every writer has to get to know them. So where do these characters come from?

I think it’s different for everybody. Some people get inspired from real life interactions. Some people just build the dream man or woman, situation, happy ending, or not so happy ending. I’m more of the second type of writer.

When I first started writing fiction some of the people I knew did end up inspiring characters by the way they looked on some level, but of course the characters had to fit my vision in my mind so I had to build a new personality—sometimes from scratch. But as I grew as a writer the people in the world around me started taking less of a role in inspiring a specific character.

I tend to build the ‘what if’ type character. Like in The Sixth Sentinel (I love sci-fi) my leading man was so against type for me but it worked for him.

The Sixth Sentinel Book CoverChronus has the power of bending time, taking a leap back and leaving somebody behind. However, his unique power is flawed because he cannot bend it to a direct time or date. If he makes a mistake he can’t intentionally go back to before he made it and fix it. This is seen in the fact that he allows his wife’s memory to be erased and he takes her back in time to keep her safe. Oh yeah, nothing bad can ever happen with that—not.

In her time she was one of their most formidable warriors. They both led at the front of the line. Erasing her memory was a definite mistake; leaving Kit with her in the past was an epic mistake. Somewhere in the past they change the timeline of the future.

Of course with all things time travel you can’t change the past and stop the events. Let’s face it, if the events didn’t happen the future wouldn’t have happened and the person going back to change things wouldn’t have been born, had a way to get back in the first place, or had a reason to go back. I love the technicality and psychology of this.

So here I had two characters that I really wanted to focus on most. I had my time bending highly cranky leading man, and my confused leading lady who wants to remember, who wants to find home, and who wants to understand why the world she knew to be home is now a world she can’t recognize at all.

Now that I had a stronger idea for the movie playing in my head more building work was needed. I’ll talk about that in the next post. I wouldn’t want to make this one too long–that will come later ;).

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