Thursday, January 21, 2010

These people in our heads...

status: at work while my characters are sitting around running scenes
background noise: coworkers talking about lunch

I love this poster...and I had to steal it from Amy Bai's blog today.... In fact I'm printing it out and posting it on my wall.

Okay, now down to business.
Wanted to talk about characters today. We all create these people from thin air.... Sometimes they are constructed from full fledged people we know. Family (be careful!!!!), friends (ditto), coworkers... Sometimes they are pieces divided up from those people. Sometimes they are based on individuals we don't even know but saw somewhere, heard a snippet of conversation, and we made up a personality around it. And sometimes they are just created from our own head, maybe it's someone we'd like to know.... or be.

My first novel had bits and pieces of many people I know. My husband can point them out. My current one is more vague, more subtle. But I think the best fleshed out characters are based on reality of some sort. I know I have one in my first novel that is truely a stand-alone, and his scenes got cut more than any other. Because he wasn't as interesting.

How have you put your characters together? And do you have favorites?

I do. I love "Luke" from my first novel. He's just so cool. My current wip I love them all as well, but so far my favorite is the daughter character, "Riley". She cracks me up.


Janna Qualman said...

I think I'm partial to all of them, though some more than others. My favorites are an aunt from my first, the MC in my second, and (so far) the "supporting character" dog in my third.

I love writing a character only to realize later part of him/her may have been pulled from someone I know in real life. For the most part, though, they appear in my mind and grow as their own person. I guess that's good, because I'll be less likely to get in trouble... ;)

Janna Qualman said...

Oh! And I mean to say, I love that poster, too. I've stolen it, as well.

sunna said...

My characters are always the first thing in my head, even before the premise. They come pretty much completely fleshed out, complete with baggage, quirks, flaws, and twitches. I don't consciously know where I'm getting them from, but if I had to guess, I'd say they're a big mesh of real people, random events and meetings with strangers, and characters I've read or watched, plus bits and pieces of me.

I wish I'd come up with that poster myself, but I can't take credit - it's from here (finally found the link!). Many more fun ones there. Enjoy! :)

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

The characters from my first novel were also very strongly based on people I knew - and one of those people was myself!

I also love and might just have to steal that "motivational" poster as well!