Today is all about writing – and it’s down to the business of getting to know my main characters. That means I need them to tell me things about themselves – things that they wouldn’t tell anybody else – secrets, likes, dislikes – physical characteristics that might be completely hidden from the rest of the world.
I’m trying to find out what motivates them – what makes them do the things they do?
What is it about each character that causes THAT particular piece of action to happen?
My first step was to think about what my characters might look like. I always get a visual outline of them in my head – so that when they appear in my imagination to tell me things, they have an appearance; they actually look like someone. They are not just a vague presence that feeds me words and information.
To help me picture my characters, I use some stock photos I have from my collection. My characters won’t look exactly like the people in these photos, but they will have a general similarity. Some of the characters I’ve chosen are pictured above.
After I’ve got them in my head, I start drawing information out of them – try and get them to tell me who they really are.
To do this, I interview my characters (just the major ones) and ask them for all sorts of information about their family background, their friends and enemies and their personality traits, flaws and attributes. It’s a fun process and I love getting down to the nitty gritty of who my characters are and finding out why they do the things they do – and sometimes this can motivate changes in the plot direction of my story.
Have to go now, my characters are calling me, but speaking of characters, here’s an unusual one I came across when I was walking around Brisbane CBD this afternoon. It’s a steel sculpture by Cezary Stulgis and it’s called “The Overseer”.