Whenever I do a “talk” with readers, one consistent question that comes up is about creating characters. Where do I get my characters? How do I develop their personalities, backstories, arc, etc.? When this message from the Universe hit my inbox, I decided it wasn’t so much about me, though it is somewhat relevant. I think we all wonder about the questions the big U is asking. But as I read through it, I was struck that I often ask–at least subliminally–these same questions about my characters.
Silver, do you think it’s just a coincidence that you look exactly as you do?
Do you think your height, the color of your eyes, or the sound of your voice were accidents?
Do you think your insights into life, your gifts of perception, or your sense of humor were the result of random genetics?
No. You are exactly as you now are, with every freckle, trait, and charm, because they all added up to how you could make the biggest difference with your life in time and space, while having the most fun.
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And, Silver, you’re doing it.
Each character I create looks like they do for a reason. That reason depends upon their role in the story, in their backstory, and what I want them to accomplish between the first line of the book and me typing “The End.” Their personalities might develop during the course of telling the story but there is always a reason for each quirk, each emotion, each way they look at the world and the people around them. Coincidences are just accidents waiting to happen.
There are no accidents when it comes to creating characters. Authors need to be dead certain about them–not only their looks but their motivations, their goals, and how they react to the conflict we, as authors, introduce into their lives. Our characters need to make a difference. They need to grow and change and become…more. Just like we do as authors. We need to stretch our abilities. Go deeper. Go wider. Try new things. We need to be the writers our readers want to read because they want to stretch their imaginations, go deeper, go wider, and try new things too. That’s how we keep them coming back for more and that’s why they want to come back for more. Bottom line, don’t just keep up appearances. Create your own style and imbue your characters with it. Mold it into their DNA. It’s a lot more fun that way. And isn’t that what readers–and writers–want? I certainly do.