I’m pretty sure my methods of getting ideas for characters are different than most people. It can come to me at any moment. Like I could be watching television and I’ll see a favorite actor and think, ooh she’d be a great character. She could be a badass hunter who has an issue with authority. Of course this example is what I thought of when watching something with Michelle Rodriguez. So now that I have the basic idea of what she looks like, I’ll work on the hardest part ever.
I know there are tons of name generators but I think this comes from my days of playing Dungeons & Dragons. I have to have the most perfect name for my character. After playing MMOs for many years this hasn’t made things easier. So after this I start to flesh out a character.
Now I don’t know how many characters I have without a story to go with. I’ve fleshed out characters who would probably occupy only two pages of a story. But to me, it’s important. I know it seems like a waste of time since I can just label them as protagonist and antagonist and so on, but it seems so incomplete to me. Everyone has a name. The name is what defines a person when you first meet them.
I know every character has to be flawed. And of all the characters, the main protagonist probably has the biggest flaws in my stories. I don’t know if it’s because it’ll probably make a good story or if it’s because we all have flaws and to each of us they are probably major. So I hope readers can relate.
So fleshing out the Michelle Rodriguez (MR) character from earlier would have me questioning everything about her. Who is she? What’s her job? Does she have any hobbies? What’s her goals? Why is she a hunter or a monster or a vampire? Does she have a family? These are all things I think about. Then I start thinking of what they do in the story.
Now here it gets strange because if it’s just a spontaneous character like MR, I might just shelf her and save her for a later story. Sometimes I’ll already have a story I’ve thought about. Sadly, in this case I don’t. But I bet in the future I’ll need a female character with a degree in badassery and I’ll have MR ready to go.
Of course, I’m sure this is how everyone does it, right?