Monday, March 15, 2010

The Character Pool

Throughout most of the year 1997, I crisscrossed the country as a long haul big rig driver (or over the road driver using industry jargon). You know that song, "I've Been Everywhere?" Well that was me, darn near. I made it to 44 out of 48 contiguous states and visited every major metropolitan area with the exceptions of Miami, New Orleans and Washington D.C. I met a lot of unusual people in the many places I passed though and started jotting down notes on some of the more quirky/memorable ones for use as character outlines. These characters went into a file I referred to as my "Character Pool." I had no specific story in mind for them and often they had no name, but I maintained the list for future reference.

Alas, that file was one that went bye-bye in the tragic hard drive crash of 09', though to be truthful, quite a few of the characters in that pool had hardcopy backups. Since then, I've jotted a few more down in a new (and properly backed up) file. Lately I've been going over them, trying to decide which ones I might use in Lair, the novel I will be attempting to write soon. Some fit my general idea for story setting while others do not. Still, even these may help spark some creative mojo in crafting new characters. Fleshing out these people and their backgrounds has turned out be a rather fun task and I find myself already imaging certain scenes and dialog exchanges based solely on their personalities and relationships. Of course, some are going to come to some very bad ends. Hehehe. Time to take some notes and refill the Character Pool.

Does anyone else have any specific ways for creating characters?

5 comments:

Cate Gardner said...

I think Natalie Sin is the best person to ask re characters, hers always leap from the page. I'm still trying to figure out the magic formula.

Natalie L. Sin said...

I drink a lot of coffee.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I was going to say ask Cate. Although Natalie's are one in a million as well.

Aaron Polson said...

I need character coaching. Mine are all splinters of me.

K.C. Shaw said...

I've worked at several movies theaters over the years and I've often thought that if I used my coworkers as characters, no one would believe they were even slightly realistic. Movie theaters (or at least the ones I worked for) seem to attract unusual people, let's put it that way. I'd like to write about them eventually, but it would have to be a really over-the-top story.