Creating your Characters || Guest Post by Cait Potter

So, here it is! The official start of The Librarian Files Blog Takeover! You can keep up to date on what posts you can expect in this next week by taking a quick look at this post. (It is still being updated but all the info will be up later today)

 

Hey! I’m Cait I’m going to be guest posting while the lovely owner of this blog, Adriana, is away.

My magical topic of this post is how I go about creating and developing my characters which for me is usually a process that takes months.

A lot of the time my stories sit with me for months, sometimes years. During this time they evolve from single cells, they grow and they become almost like living, breathing creatures for me.  My characters are much the same.

 

Pinterest is my tool of choice and the images allow me to ‘build’ a character in a more visual way. The images, while making it easier to translate the scenes happening in my head also makes me feel like i’m connecting the dots easier. It’s my visual sounding board. Other tools I use are Tumblr and 8tracks and as much criticism as social media gets they’re actually wonderful tools for the modern writer/artist. Why? Because where else am I going to find large groups of unique people from all over the world in one place all throwing in their own brand of creativity.

 

I like to think of it as a skeleton, each idea that I expand on, be it the character’s job or a hobby or some special traits, adds a new layer of flesh, A slightly morbid comparison but let’s ignore that ;).

aa7c5156ed493f7eb6afa15358ce8ee1For my more recent stories the characters have been my own versions of Frankenstein’s monster. I’m constantly finding parts to stitch to the whole, hoping that finger (personality trait) or that kidney (Physical feature) will juxtapose with all the other body parts i’ve dug up from Pinterest.

 

I like to think of my stories as character driven so the story wraps itself around the characters and works with them rather than being something my characters are put into.  If that makes sense outside of my brain? The only thing that completely overrides the wishes of my characters are the worlds in my stories. They’re not stopping for anyone least of all my characters.

 

I’m always looking out for interesting things. I have a list of tastes, smells, bad habits, words that have power in them. Everything little thing I find interesting either ends up in my room as something i’ve found or it’s a scribble in the current notebook or it’s a doodle on a sticky note that won’t stay on the wall.

These are the things I base my characters on.

 

For example:  Smoking. Smoking is something i’ve been concentrating on at the moment because a lot of my characters do it.  It seems kind of boring until you realise that there are many different ways people smoke and many more reasons why.

One of my characters smokes because he feels like it could kill him even though he can’t die. Another does it because he wants to piss off his brother and even again, another smokes because the love of his life does and he doesn’t have anything else to remind him of her.

I apply this to everything, I expand and I describe it. Even the simplest details can make a character unique.

 

For me, the process or writing, worldbuilding and character creation isn’t something I want to rush. It’s my time to experiment, develop my style further and push myself to become a better writer. So my tips are;

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes when it comes to your writing. All of your writing.
  • Spend some time getting to know your characters, you’ll be better for it.
  • If you’re stuck with them try putting them in a different setting or put yourself in a different setting.
  • Talk to people, don’t just stare at them. Lol. People are infinite sources of information and experience don’t be hesitant to use that.
  • Research!! I couldn’t stress this enough. Research everything and research doesn’t just have to be a trip to the library or searches on google it could be for eg. going into a forest and walking through taking note of things that you can later put into your own work.

Ok so this is me signing off, hoping this hasn’t been as confusing as I think it is. Thank you for this opportunity Adriana and thank you for reading guys!

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