Thursday, 7 February 2019

Character Sculpting Part 2. By Dan Cooke

A year ago today I posted here about how creating our characters is not unlike sculpting them out of a block of ice, how you start with a completely unformed and square block. You then start to chip away great big chunks of ice as you begin to form who they are; their name, gender, job, what they do in the story you are writing them into.

Then, as you create their back-story, interactions with other characters, you get more delicate with the sculpting, you go from chiselling great chunks to defining some of the features, giving life to the sculpture. But even then you aren't done. As the story itself unfolds, the characters will encounter obstacles and challenges that you yourself have put in front of them, challenges that will make or break your character, chipping them down to the final few details, and maybe leaving scars in the process.

I personally find character development to be a topic of great interest and one that has often plagued me at times, as my characters develop at a much faster rate in my head than the stories they are to be involved in, and as such they sit around in my head not really doing much!

I stand by this picture in what it signifies, the fine details
that go into making your characters whole really go on to
define just who they are.
I also often have conversations with my characters, or will mediate in conversations that they have with one another. This method has taught me so much about these characters of mine, and in the process I have had some conflict arise, be settled or even issues stem out of nowhere.

This method has even led to characters changing their names at times, or in one case, change their gender and entire back-story, leaving me with a completely different person, that to me, was still the original as I created him, except now, she has a family history I had no idea about at first!

Sometimes it almost feels like my characters drive me, not me them. Instead I am just being taken along for the ride, being told what they are doing and having to document it to the best of my ability.
You can ask them so many questions to find out more about them, and they don't even have to be your main characters for you to be able to do this. Find out their deepest fears, their main goals, what they want to achieve by the end of their story.

You never know what they might tell you.

So I urge you, talk to your characters, spend time with them and help them develop, and you'll probably find that they have stories of their own to tell that you had no idea existed to be there in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. Good advice, Dan, there's one of my characters I really need to have a chat with right now!