Monday, May 12, 2014

Making a character

Last week we read Rebecca LuElla Miller's excellent post, Characters can be Cliches, Too.
So, now, I'm wondering, where do you get your characters from? That voice in your head, what is its genesis?
In my first novel (the one that will probably never see the light of day - except for my friends' amusement) I'll admit the main character is the woman I wish I were. She is brave, athletic, politically savvy, and powerful. Her love interest sprang out of what I imagined might be the motivation of a guy I observed at college. He was very handsome, but always sat alone. A song by the Black Keys, Broken Halo, helped flesh out his motivations.
While I would love to put myself  in a historical novel, I'm going to resist. I  need new people to play with. 
One of the coolest aspects of the novel brewing in my head is that my family lived in Northern Michigan during the era - and my great-great grandfather was the sort of guy you can't make up. If I transcribed his life no one would believe it! I'm fairly certain lumber camp foreman/riverboat captain Melancthan Dodge is going to make at least a cameo appearance.
For the rest of them I'm pondering a quote I heard recently, "what lie does your character believe that causes them to behave this way." To which I'm adding this, "what truth drives them forward anyway."
Where did your favorite characters come from? Did their development surprise you in any way? Please answer below!

Jane Wells has always gravitated toward reading material that pushed other people’s buttons. In 2nd grade it was a dinosaur book that upset her teacher at a Baptist school. Now it’s vampires and dystopias that catch her imagination. In them she finds parables and allegories illustrating God’s ancient plan in a language that is uniquely modern – and easily understood by people who may have never set foot inside a church. Glitter in the Sun and Bird on Fireare the results.
Always a writer, Jane’s “real jobs” have included newspaper journalism, youth ministry, sewing machine sales and marketing for a publishing house. Currently she is back to “just a writer” again, while juggling all the typical domestic duties of wife and mother, homeschooling two boys, managing two needy Golden Retrievers and answering to one very demanding cat.

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