Today I’m continuing with thoughts from Margaret Coel, author of the Wind River mysteries series. (I met and learned from Coel at the Tony HIllerman Writer’s Conference in Santa Fe, November 7-9, 2013.)
As part of her session, Coel talked about how story people are created. If you’ve ever thought about writing a book, you’ve thought about the people who will LIVE in that book.
Story people are created one of two ways:
Either you’ve come up with a story line or plot and have to decide who’s in the story, or you’ve come up with a character who interests you and the story evolves from them.
If you’ve come up with a character, it’s possible: you dreamed them; you’ve seen them somewhere in your daily life; or you’ve read about that character in another book and have a new story for them to live
As a writer, you develop these characters and get to know them by looking into yourself. All people have the same emotions, but our reactions to events may be different. Coel said that developing characters requires a lot of self analysis! Each character will have a bit of the author in them, either personally or as someone they have encountered or known.
How interesting is this?! I think about my characters, both in Cobwebs and in other stories I’ve written, and I see that Ms. Coel is absolutely right. The basis of a character may be someone I encountered once and didn’t much like; it may be a good friend; or it may be a part of myself, something I either like – or dislike.
But the thing is, the emotion displayed by that character is real, and that’s why the reader can identify with them – whether or not the reader likes them. We often remember the villains as readily as we remembers the heroes~
Wednesday, watch for a post about the things you, as the writer, need to know/decide about each character.