Creating Extraordinary Characters –– Part II

fountain penIn the beginning…in creating characters, we must begin at the beginning. We’ve talked about a three-word description, and basic information. How do we determine what the basic information will be? Who do you want it to be? Determining the basic information about the character is paramount to creating one amazing character. Click to Tweet #amwriting #characters

Initial Information

We’ve decided what the character looks like. We may even have found an actor to portray them.

When I began my novel, I asked myself a series a questions. Although my first character was a cowboy who gets in the way of a gunfight, I knew I had to make the story with a romance thread. There had to be a leading lady.

Who would she be? How would she get to my fictional hometown? Where would she come from? Why would she go to New Boston, Kansas?

These questions helped me begin. I’d already read a good number of historical romances at that point, but I read many more. I saw two-three main patterns.

First, the gal had a bad authority figure. The father is in money trouble and wants to sell his daughter in order to pay his debts. I began to hate that.

Then, I read about the girl becoming an orphan and there was no one to take care of her. Overdone, in my opinion.

golden typewriter keysThe girl wants adventure, so she’s willing to leave everything she knows in order to experience something new. Well, there’s possibilities here, but there must be more to it than that.

I wanted a girl who would experience culture shock when she got to New Boston. A sort of privileged rich girl who somehow needed to be on her own.

My challenge was how to make a spoiled rich girl likeable. With the help of my first mentor, Sandra Byrd, and DiAnn, through my CWG classes, the Meghan Gallagher, a girl who wants to prove she can do it, emerged. Her beliefs are put to the test. She’s throw into clearly uncomfortable situations. How will she handle them? That’s the stuff that can make a great character.

Her name emerged. I liked the name Meghan Gallagher. She would come from a large city. Her father loves her so much, that he’s the one shoving her into this adventure. Because I was sick and tired of reading about a bad father or a dead one. I’ve only read one historical where the father was loving and yet allowed his daughter to go on an adventure. My mentor, DiAnn Mills wrote it, Renegade Husband.

This is where my character interview, done as an assignment for my Craftsman class, helped bring out interesting ideas and character traits.

How do you start thinking of a character? Do you name them first? Or visualize their appearance. Click to Tweet #amwriting #characters

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