Four Tips To Characterization

Where do characters come from?frankiecartoon

I sometimes wonder where our favorite authors gathered their inspiration for their beloved characters. That’s why I’ve been featuring a series of posts called Who’s Got Character on my website. I wanted to get the ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at how memorable characters are made and why we (especially the creators) love them so much.

Not unlike Dr. Frankenstein and his ‘creation’, pieces of our characters can come from a variety of places and sometimes, they get a little out of hand, but in the end it’s what makes them memorable.

So what are some of the basic sources of inspiration?

1. Once Upon A Dream – Some authors actually ‘dream up’ their famous characters, whether from an actual moment of sleep or from a daydream. Somewhere in that mysterious world of imagination, characters emerge and are finally fleshed out through the story.

2. Me, Myself, and I – Almost all characters have some element of the author in them. Since we must feel what we write, many times little bits of our personalities blend in with our creations. It adds an element of humanness or reality to the fictional realm.

3. Love Your Neighbor – It’s true. Sometimes we borrow character ideas from other people we know. That quirky person who lives down the street, that interesting family member, a cousin with a unique story to tell – some of the most memorable characters evolve from the ‘true’ lives or the ‘what ifs’ from people we’ve met. Careful not to make them ‘too recognizable’.  I’m sure the Hatfields and McCoys didn’t start over a character in a book, but you don’t want to be the first 😉
4. Across a Crowded Room – Here’s where the ‘what if’ and imagination bond to birth a character. A stranger across the room, a sales-clerk in the grocery store, a character from a movie…people you’ve never met, who may not even be real, but…what if….
Suddenly, you devise a personality, a backstory, and a plot based on the fictitious life you’ve given a stranger. Ooo, what fun.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s