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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday Spotlight: Lindsay Townsend

Creating Character

Where do my characters come from?

1. I watch strangers. I see how people react and behave. I watch documentaries on TV and news to see how people react, especially in moments of crisis. I listen to how people speak.

2. I use my family and friends as starting points for characters and then change them. In other words, I make new, different people. I change aspects about them. I mentally ask my characters questions and think about how and what they would answer.

3. I draw characters from myself. I imagine how I would feel in a situation, or in a similar situation.

4. I choose names with care. Names are important. They can imply age, class, race, status, popularity - as with nicknames. Or unpopularity - as with unkind nicknames. My character might be named after someone - I need to know how do they feel about that. I need to know if how they feel has a bearing on my story.

5. I try to be consistent with whatever I've chosen for my characters. I make a note somewhere of their age, looks, job, main virtue, main vice, what they want, what they don’t want others to find out, and so on. I keep that note handy so that I can refer to it.

6. I try to show my characters in action in some way, so that they are not passive.

10 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Great summary of creating characters. I always try to live in their skin, or their shapeshifted skin as I write my stories.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Hi Lindsay! Fascinating stuff, especially about names being so important, how very true that is! I love watching strangers, too, and get lots of ideas from that. I always take a book on a long train journey, but always end up not reading it - too busy people-watching!
Have a great week at LASR!

Jane x

Linda Banche said...

Nice list, Lindsay. You're so methodical about it. I agree about the names. Names are important. I start out with my hero and heroine named John and Mary, and then pick out real names later.

Jen Black said...

Hi Lindsay - nice to see your pic. Who knows, we might meet one day!

Celia Yeary said...

LINDSAY--All the ways you get your characters are workable ideas. Of all those you listed, drawing upon yourself and how you'd feel would be last on my list. I don't think I've ever used myself in anyway for a character. On the other hand, maybe the way we react to stimuli of any sort must be from our own experiences in some form. Good post. Celia

Bekki Lynn said...

I love watching people and absorbing their differences. I eavesdrop and sometimes I crack up at what I hear, or I interject a comment which often turns into a very interesting conversation.

It's fun to see what stores in your mind and what comes forth for various characters.

I do sometimes, especially when I'm tired, have to watch that I don't give the same personality to both the hero and heroine.

Kathleen O said...

I love people watching.. I have a cousin and we love to look at a person and figure out what they do or where there from. We can be a bit sarcastic while doing it though!! LOL

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Lindsay,
Loved your list of ways you get ideas for your characters. My favorite ones are also drawing from personal experiences (including my more interesting relatives) and people watching where ever I go.
And names for characters are very important to me.
Super congrats on your newest release! May it be a million seller.

GladysMP said...

It was interesting to read how you come up with characters and the importance you give to names.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Thank you so much, Savanna, Jane, Linda, Jen, Celia, Bekki, Kathleen, Rebecca, Gladys!

Jen - I think it would be great to meet up!

I think it would be fantastic if we could all meet - one day, eh?