I was trying to think of what this blog post would be about, when I thought, why not just talk about what you're doing? So, I'm in the midst of fleshing out all my characters for NaNoWriMo. I figure, I'll talk about my process for that.
Now, I know everyone's process is different, but bear with me.
Names, names, names. Names are *very* important. Sometimes, I get them right on the first try. (Damon, Alucard, and Nicholai in Mortality have been named thus for eight years.) Other times I have to rename, and rename, and rename again until the feel is right for the character I want. (Devin's name has changed *many* times, but now I think it's right.)
When choosing a name, you have to think of what genre you're writing in. My NaNoWriMo is written in a modern setting, so the naming isn't as difficult as it is with a fantasy setting. I have names like Jonathon, Garret, Alyson, and Abigail. But the one I'm most proud of is Sarah-Juliet. The name seems to not fit her at all, but that's why I like it. And it's why she hates it.
If you're writing fantasy, it's a bit more difficult for naming. If you've got multiple countries/continents/areas, the names will sound differently for each place. You've got to figure that out or all the names will sound the same. In Mortality, all my vampires have, understandably, older sounding names. My main human character's name is Devin (a male name), her brother's name was Deron, and her mother was... Lina, I think. (They only showed up in a very important flash back). Two human twins I need to rename. I couldn't think of anything so they're Coral and Drell.
Personality. This is the most important trait of a character, in my opinion. If you're unsure of your character's personality, the writing will be unclear. (A *big* source of much of my editing. I wasn't sure of a character's personality throughout most of the novel so far.) You don't necessarily need it before you start writing, it will develop as you write, but *please* edit it in in the beginning.
Something I like to do is to give them a contradictory personality. Sarah-Juliet, one of the first person POV characters. Is self-loathing, but selfish. Filled with hatred (for herself and others), yet pities both Supernaturals and Humans. And... well she's the only character I have fully fleshed out. I can't wait to learn about the others.
Arguably the least important, at least to me. In your novel you should *never* spend a block of text of pure description. (Unless, that is, it's NaNoWriMo and you need word padding.) You know, for the longest time, I couldn't describe Devin in Mortality. I *think* she's blond. Maybe has green eyes? Like I said, it's not that important to me, especially not in the rough draft.
However, I'm writing out full physical descriptions for my NaNoWriMo characters this year. When I insert physical description into a story, I use individual things. Like eye color, or hair color, or height. For me, those three are the most important descriptors. Though weight can sometimes be in that list, too.
Some genre's, like high fantasy or supernatural, have some special powers, or magic. Often, that needs to be clear from the beginning. Magic plays a large role in Mortality. Magic binds her and another character together. Magic keeps her from dying, and warns against danger. etc.
In my NaNoWriMo novel, this is the first time I've actually had to describe a car. So Sarah-Juliet drives a '76 Chevrolet Camaro. It's old. Not well taken care of. Doesn't like to start. Also, the Supernaturals are kept track of by GPS tracking tags. But some have been missed. They stay deep underground. Figuratively, not literally.
Well. That's all I got. Good Luck this November! (You know, if you're a NaNo'er.)
Food For Thought
What's your process for creating characters?
Do you come up with characters before, after or with the plot?