Saturday, 4 September 2010

Character Geneses Series

I'm immersed in revisions on ECHOES right now, which means that not only am I prone to shoot off to Twitter or Blogger to procrastinate at the strangest times, but I am also eating, sleeping and behaving erratically and am making a rather poor fiancee. Steve has been neglected the last few days. But it's okay really, because he's busy reading Jeffrey Archer's A Prisoner of Birth (great book, by the way).

This lot of revisions, however, have got me thinking about characters. Specifically, how they're born. Sometimes characters just appear fully fledged in my head and demand to be written. Like, now. As in, 'Erm, Sangu? Get cracking on it, I've got so many witty and excellent things to say!' Familiar with that type?

Other times, I know I need a character for a specific reason or in a specific situation and I have to painstakingly create them. This is obviously more difficult because it means they take actual work to flesh out, but it's also easier in the sense that they might actually do what you want. At the start, anyway. Then they take on a life of their own and... sigh. They've taken over the story.

And then there are characters that are born in other ways, whether by accident or because they've been inspired by something, etc etc.

So I thought I'd explore this. That over the next couple of weeks, every couple of days or so, I will write up a series of posts when I can find the time, explaining and exploring the genesis of several of my characters. 

These will offer up a lot to anyone who's interested in the characters, but will also hopefully explore the topic in general. I'm doing this because I'm terribly curious about the general idea of how we create fictional characters.

Sound like fun?

If it does, great! Because I need you too, it'll be a lot less fun if it's just me going on about it. I'd love for people to spread the word and chime in in the comments! Give me stories of your own characters' geneses! Tell me how you imagine a famous writer came up with a favourite classic character! Feel free to write up your own blog posts about your characters' births and link me to them!

As of now, I imagine writing about six or seven posts in total, but that might change depending on whether or not people actually enjoy reading them. If you guys hate them, let me know and I'll stop and do this exploring and explaining to myself (and to Steve, who has to bear with this whether he likes it or not, poor lad).

Happy weekend, everyone!


  1. I doubt we'll hate them!
    Yeah, your neglected fiance and my neglected spouse. I guess it goes with the territory, huh?

  2. They kinda just appear in my head... often inspired by real people but very quickly develop their own personalities :)

  3. Creating characters must be real tough.

  4. I'm looking forward to reading this, Sangu.
    Is Steve enjoying Jeffery Archer? I haven't read any of his stuff for years but it's trashily gripping.
    Bangalore might be on the cards, got to start flight searching very soon, the weather's getting cold again. xxx

  5. Hmm.. This does sound like fun. : j
    I'm looking forward to reading these too.

  6. Sounds fascinating. I don't really write much but I often found the process of creating the characters and writing their back story much more interesting than writing the actual story!

  7. Poor Steve! :)

    It's funny - my character form in a variety of ways, like you mention. I love it when new characters show up to create conflicts around the half-way point. That's my favourite!

  8. Thats a FABULOUS idea Sangu! I have characters that were born in the several ways you noted. My favourite process though, is when the plot asks for the character (being a plot driven writer like mehself) and then I get to carve this character. Its a lot of fun!

  9. I doubt we'll hate them. It's a brilliant idea! Writer's have the best ideas and I can't wait to see it play out!

  10. I commend you for this idea. I think that if I tried to figure out what my characters were born from, I would have a very big headache. Some are obvious, others...not so much!