Welcome Gods and Goddesses, Tyrants, Supreme Overlords, and, in other words, writers. Today, we begin our journey towards character creation. If you’ve been with the Myers Fiction family since our World-Building posts, then you now have a world full of many things, but maybe not the inhabitants of your story. And if you search the millions of posts on character creation, there are many opinions on how to birth your characters. I’ve addressed a few options in some of my World-Building posts, such as Character from Genre, Characters from Setting, and Character from Situation/Conflict. But I focused on the World-Building aspect of character creation. Today, we’ll talk about one method of beginning your character’s creation.
Who Are You?
The question isn’t for you, it’s for your character. This is beyond their gender or age, but more a focus on what they represent. As stated in Creating Characters, a book of advice from multiple authors, it opens with a reminder that characters are the fulcrum of the story. They should be the reason for change, the study of change, or the driving force in some shape or form. When you ask who are you, then you need to look at what side of humanity you’re trying to mirror. A character mirroring self-sacrifice and the cost of those actions will generate a different character than if you’re writing a novel about the selfishness of society.
What is your purpose?
Most of the time, this question is the fundamental question of your story. Or the theme. While there may be layers of purposes, what is the deepest purpose of your novel? Then, once you have that answer, develop the best or worst character to answer that question. Knowing the purpose of the story and character will give you the basis for your character arc. The purpose can span one book or many. In Pendragon by D. J. MacHale, Bobby Pendragon has a smaller arc/purpose in each novel. Meanwhile, the greater threat, Saint Dane, is a constant that branches across the entire series.
Where are you now?
Where your character begins may change who you choose as the Protagonist, Antagonist, and possibly cotagonist. These vary when you change ages, species, races, social class, or even skill-sets. Just as choosing the starting point of your novel is critical, so is the character’s starting point. If you have a character who is halfway through their journey to enlightenment, then their attainment of supreme understanding loses its luster. But if you start with a character who lacks common decency but has at least one redeeming quality and a desire, your readers will appreciate the entire journey compared to a partial.
Where do you want to be?
Everyone in life has goals, even if they claim they don’t. Sometimes we forget that the drive to remain in the same state is a goal. And maybe your characters truth gives them a flat arc as they try to turn the world to their view. But that’s when you add the arcs of other characters. Defining your character’s goal will revert to the theme of the story. If you’ve got your Hero ready to change this dastardly world to good, then you’re likely showing how one “good” person can change the world. Versus, someone always in a failing relationship, makes one last attempt before remaining single forever, a story of perseverance and hope.
The starting of a character can be stressful. You’ll probably spend more time on your protagonist and Antagonist more than any other character. Which makes sense, because they will be the driving forces of your story. Above, we addressed multiple literary terms such as character arc, theme, protagonist, antagonist, and cotagonist. We will address each in its own post before we move onto the next part of the Character Creation process. Next week, we’ll learn more about character arcs and how they define your character.
If you have any character creation tips, comment below! And as always, stay fresh, my nugs!
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3 thoughts on “Character Creation: Who Are You?”
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I love this! Thank you for clarifying some issues I’ve been facing with storytelling. I hope to create relatable characters in my books, thanks again
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