When I start developing a character sometimes, I construct the person in my head; then I start writing down how she/he is going to be. First the ‘shell,’ then the inside. I very rarely ‘use’ someone I already know… someone I have met or is familiar to me.
It’s more that sometimes I recognize later, after the first draft, when I’m typing the book into the computer, that I find similarities with people I know.
This one time it’s a bit different.
A couple of months back I met a new co-worker of mine. She’s simply beautiful with her shiny black hair, blue ocean deep eyes, and her open, symmetrical heart-shaped face.
We talked about her descants and found out; she’s Irish. After talking to her and listening to her wonderful Irish accent, I decided I would love to use her as one of my main characters in one of the next books which I will.
After already having found that wonderful, amazing name I described in one of my earlier posts, Mairead, here I had a perfect character. That’s one of the fantastic miracles that are given to us: finding two people and turn them into one. It’s a perfect synthesis.
Of course, she is “perfect”… but not like ‘immaculate.’ She is a living being and therefore has her ‘bad habits’ and a couple of flaws. In a way I imagined her to be a bit fickle and impish sometimes. But I’m still working on these flaws.
I’m not that much in a hurry with Mairead yet, since I first have to write another book before it’s Mairead’s turn.
I know, it seems to be a bit early to start creating a new character. But I admit, I prefer doing this early. I’d like to give Mairead a voice. I want to create a backstory around her; I want her to be perfect for her particular story because she belongs there. My book, my story, my plot, will be her future.
And I want to know her. She should be comfortable with me, just as I want to be friends with her. I’d like to think about her and know what she would say to a certain situation, just because I know her so well.
I’m not sure I’m always strong enough to do as I planned with every character I create. But I work on it, and I get used to my characters long before they show up anywhere.
How do you find your characters? Do they already exist? Do you ‘use’ people you know? Friends? Relatives? Siblings? Let us know. I’m curious.
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