I’m having a real problem with the characters in my novel.
I’ve got a clear idea of all their names, their roles and their motivations, but I haven’t managed to convey those ideas in the text yet. So, I’m taking a step back and looking at them in a new light.
When I was planning and researching the story – it’s based on historical events – I made some character notes, but I don’t think they were detailed enough, so I just don’t have enough ‘meat’ to work in to the story.
So, back I go to thinking about what and what each of the men are.
I also need to two buildings in the story to be characters, because they both have an important part to play in moving the story forward.
I don’t want to get bogged down in ridiculously long pen-portraits, but I do think I need to get down on paper what each of the characters look like and a bit more about the subtleties of things like their mannerisms. I missed all that out on my first go. Then it’ll be back to my draft and working out how to fit all this new detail into the action without making it look just tacked on.
I think over the next few weeks I’m going to challenge myself to write pen-portraits of people I see and characters I think of, just to get my eye in. So, a large-sized index card for each character and away I go…
How do you start creating your characters? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?