Monday, April 4, 2011

CHARACTERS

As I was editing my first novel, again, I started thinking…How much info do you have to include into your characters profile when creating them?

I personally don’t go into extreme detail when creating my characters. I don’t write down what books they like, which music they are into or what their political views are. I just know what their personality should be like. Even their look is something I struggle with. But at least I know what I don’t want them to look like. What I usually do write down is their eye colour, hair colour, height, weight, type of body build and personality traits.

I spend quite a lot of time trying to figure out the storyline before I start writing but I confess, I don’t go too crazy when developing a character. Bad planning on my part? Maybe, but I don’t like reading a lot of narrative, using 10 sentences to describe how thick a man’s bicep is or using half the page to describe how gloriously the lady’s hair blew in the wind. I personally read one or two sentences and then skip the rest.

Of course when the story develops I add more info, but I can’t tell beforehand where the dialogue will take me or what exactly will be said. Characters tend to take me on a journey. They take hold of me and before I know it they are the one’s telling me what to write and do and not the other way around. So I won’t know that pink is my leading lady’s favourite colour till she tells me so later on and I don’t know that my leading man loves Metallica when I create him. He too only tells me when it is convenient for him. Typical!

So how much time do you devote towards developing your characters? Do focus on giving your characters tons of info before writing or do you add it in later like me?