Creating characters (the process)

It’s a hard thing: making a memorable and honest character. Strong writers are determined, no matter what, to get their characters right. And it’s no overnight process. 

When I first started writing, I thought that putting my character through tough battles and emotional trauma would turn them into a real character, a spirit that would manifest in the mind of the reader. Of course, after many years of writing and hundreds of stories later, you get to understand that characters aren’t made in whatever you decide. 

You’ve got to really know your characters, and once that process is complete, they start doing not what you decide but what they decide to do. 

I have never experienced a first draft that earned me a character’s trust. It’s only been in the revisions when they’ll speak up. 

“No, no. I wouldn’t do that. I’d do this.” 
“That doesn’t make sense. I’d do this.” 
“I don’t talk like that. Can’t you hear me?”

Slowly, their ideas and tendencies will come to you. So, if you think your characters aren’t solid, aren’t real, then spend more time with them. The more you write about something (really, anything), the more you understand it and the soul of it. 

And that’s really what writers are chasing after.

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