Well, I have been searching and have found a number of articles that talk about character development and offer tips on creating realistic characters. Almost every one of them has ended with or been focused around these ‘character questionnaires’. Some have been interesting to look at, and others have been almost laughable, but what I find myself thinking is, do I need to complete a questionnaire for my character?
I know, I know, I set out to educate myself and have stopped to argue at the first hurdle. It just bugs me. I mean, as a writer, do we really know our characters before we start doing the dance of many syntax with them?
Look at meeting people in real life, for that is really what we are doing with characters when we start a brand new novel. We are meet them, we get to know them, and slowly they invade our every waking moment until their story is told.
Is it not dangerous to over develop a character and define them down to the name of their nursery school. Especially this early in the relationship. Where is the mystery, where is the intrigue.
Plotting out the chapters and a tight story outline I can understand, but even after just one day, I feel that over planning characters just isn’t for me. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I like to get to know my characters as I write. I find a much better flow if the whole process is more of an exchange. I learn about them, and they in turn learn a little about me.
Out of all of the articles I read, the one I found the most enlightening was perhaps the most basic of them all. It spoke about how successful characters are three-dimensional, in just the same way the people are. The article itself you can read here. It is not groundbreaking, but after a day of nothing but questionnaires and prompts to fully breakdown the psyche of someone who for all intents and purposes and stranger to me, I found it something of a breath of fresh air.
With this in mind, I think I will start my story plotting, I will create the shadow and the man I hope will become a close friend over the coming months, and wait for nature to take its course and for the light to be shed.