Whenever I read another author’s explanation of how they create their characters, I think, Wow, that looks so professional, I would love to have a neatly organised character sheet too! And then in a fit of busyness I start making one just like it, only to get to the “Character Traits” section and stall.
I can’t remember one book where I’ve sat down first and started plotting out who my characters will be. Instead, I sit down and plunge into the writing itself, letting the characters be whoever they turn out to be. And yet I’ve had comments from reviewers saying that my characters are well-rounded and believable, even though I put basically no work into making them so.
Every now and then I wonder about cliches in fantasy, such as – whenever there’s a group of people going off to save the world they tend to be men, with maybe one woman in the mix. And then I think that maybe I should break that cliche and make a group of women save the world. Which would certainly be interesting considering the dynamics in a group of women… Actually, the more I think about it, the more I want to write that story 😀
The sad thing is, however much I want to write that story, I don’t really choose my characters, the characters choose me. I start the story, and the characters come in as they see fit. For example, Gonor in Starscape. I originally put him in because I got the idea that every fantasy book should have an annoying character, a Gollum-esque character. I was going to make Gonor the character everyone wanted to rip out of the book and do nasty things to. In the end, he turned out to be more Gollum-esque than I planned. He wasn’t annoying, he was tragic, and that happened without me ever planning him as anything more than the irritating weirdo.
I’ve pretty much decided to give up on trying to make my characters go where they want to. It’s like they’re people with minds of their own, and I can’t do anything about it I shall let them wend their merry ways (or, knowing me, not always so merry #Einur #Gonor #Royaleisia), and I’ll just wend my subservient way in their footsteps.