Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The fun behind character creation

I've been developing a secondary character for my new novel, Keeper of the Pond. He's only in the first half of the book, but the man himself, and what he does for a living (he's a magician in the 1930s) will have a big impact on my main character and the choices he makes later in life.

This is my favorite part, creating the characters that will carry the story from beginning to end, letting them get under my skin, allowing them to become familiar enough that I start thinking about them all the time.

Want a character to be shorter? Poof! He's now four feet tall. Think she should have an addiction problem? Tap-tap-tap on your keyboard and suddenly the woman's gambling online after her family goes to bed. Need some dramatic tension? Poof again as a door opens and there stands the 15 year old son your protagonist never knew he fathered back in high school...

And all this states the obvious: that writers really are just a buncha control freaks, don't you think?

17 comments:

ChristineEldin said...

I LOVE that magazine cover!! Is it online, or did you find this at a library!!
And what a fun, fun character you're creating!!! So many possibilities...
:-)

Melissa Marsh said...

I agree. I am a control freak and (sorta) proud of it. ;-)

wordman17 said...

I agree with your first commenter. That's a great magazine cover!!!!

Nadine said...

I admire how writers think up characters (and stories) in a poof-like fashion. It's why I love lurking on author blogs!

Victoria said...

Yowza!
I haven't even read
Silver Compass yet and you've got me dying to read this next one of yours. Great photo.

Holly Kennedy said...

Christine - I love that magazine cover, too! I found it online and because it says 1936 on the front I saved it (that's the same timeframe when my secondary character is a magician in the story). Cool, huh?

Melissa -- I'm with you.
Puffed out proud to be a control freak!

Wordman17 -- How's Alaska?! Hope the weather isn't too cold for yah.

Nadine -- Ahhhh... so you're revealing yourself as an author junkie, huh?

Victoria -- You made me smile.
What a nice start to the day.

Larramie said...

Holly, remember telling us that you had so many stories in your head that would never be told? Well maybe you could conjure up more time with your writer's sleight of hand. :)

kyla-dale said...

Sounds like this new one of yours is going to be quite interesting!
As always, can't wait to read it.

Adam said...

*LOL* I envy writers
the control freak side of their jobs frankly. Wish I had more control with mine!

Travis Erwin said...

We are either control freaks, or closet psychiatrists.

Trish Ryan said...

That does sound fun! As a memoirist, I don't have that luxury...but you make me want to try fiction, just to see what might happen!

Ramona said...

I have been dabbling with two stories for a while now and I'm coming to understand how much confidence plays a part in all this. I want to create certain characters for example, but then I pull back worried about what others will think. Then I have these bursts where I say to myself, who the hell cares?
Does this happen to you?

maria g said...

I have sent you an email offline at your webemail this morning. My grandpap was a part-time magician in the mid 1940s so if you wnat to ask any questions I can probaby help.

mlh said...

Poof! I am a famous author with adoring followers!

Oh no, it didn't work. I'm still a struggling writer lurking on authors' blogs for the mere entertainment and informational value. The control freak in me must be broken.

I loved the post and picture, nonetheless. Thank P. Wood for steering me over to your pretty place. I might actually stay for awhile.

Kim Stagliano said...

Either that or we're channelers. Not to mention jury, judge and hangman. Aaaahhhh! Feeeel the power! (Or is that just too many jelly beans?) :)

Happy Easter!

seeleydeborn said...

In our worlds, we are gods.

Kakie said...

So glad I came across your post. I recently have been wondering how other writers come up with their characters. I am learning it is a little different for everyone. I have been to numerous author forums to ask and although I haven't received a ton of responses, the few that came were insightful.

Although my genre is a bit different (children's books) the process is still the same.

I recently wrote an article on my blog about how the process works for us. I called it "The Character Creation Brings Out The Child In All of Us". I would love to hear your thoughts about it.

Warmest Regards,
-Kakie