Monday, February 25, 2013

Stories and Characters

I don't know what it is about this time of year but ideas for short stories keep bubbling up. No sooner have I put to bed all the short pieces I've been working on than a new one has started forming. As it did, I realized that I need more characters if I'm going to keep doing this.

I've known this from the beginning. Last year when I set out to write as many short stories as I could before the edits for Book 1 hit, I decided that these stories would feature characters from my novels only at a time before the novel takes place. So a scene from someone's life so to speak.

But having done that several time now, I'm realizing I need more characters so I can feature them in a stories and perhaps even put them in a novel.

The process of character creation can be hard work. You really need to know what makes the character special and unique and how you will show that to the reader. If we look at real people for a moment, we can say that everyone is special and unique, the problem is you don't know it. It is usually hidden or masked. We do this for lots of reasons that are beyond the scope of this post but the point is the best parts of everyone are hidden. It is only when something happens that we get even a glimmer of what someone is capable of.

In fiction, my job is to show these qualities and to create situations where a character's traits shine. Then you see them and you take a liking or disliking to the character. And even with all the variation in the world, and all the possibilities, it can be hard to develop a character that is different and that you can write well enough to be believable. Often, you have to spend time with the character and that's not something I have in abundance.

Still, I need to start developing characters independently of stories so they will be ready when an idea comes my way.

Where's my notebook?

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