Every writer will have their take on character creation and how they go about it, so here are my thoughts for the How to be a better novelist series.
When creating characters you need to think outside the box – don’t completely stereotype your protagonist - some stereotyping is ok so the reader can connect, but make sure you keep surprising yourself and the reader with the prot’s decisions and actions. How many different emotions do you feel with Maggie in Little Child? Maybe at first you love and admire her, then maybe as the story unfolds the adoration turns to dislike. As more and more is unravelled, there could be the strong possibility you may absolutely hate her… Snape is a brilliant example from Harry Potter. We never know to the very end what motivates him and why he does the things he does, but JK Rowling leads us on a journey.
That’s something else I find really useful – take the protagonist on a journey because in doing so, you’re taking the reader on a journey. And that’s what writing a book is all about.
My rules for secondary characters are more lenient. Example James in Little Child – he’s very one-dimensional. My personal view is that this is ok. Too many characters doing things to surprise will detract from the protagonist.
Read your character's dialogue aloud, imagine them as a living person. Brainstorm their hopes, dreams, fears. Do this with your whole cast, but spend twice as long on your prot. Readers connect / fall in love / compare themselves with the prot. in every book (I certainly do!) so they should always get first priority. Secondary characters are there to support the prot. but they should never be strong enough to override. Again, this is just my personal view.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.