As I have begun my research for my fifth book (aptly entitled Five), I was reminded of a question a friend recently had about writing.
The question was: How do you develop your characters?
The answer to that is a bit complicated.
First, for those who haven’t read my book series, they fall into the category of historical fiction — that means a ton of research about the times my existing characters are living in. What is the state of the world? What does it mean to them? How does it impact what they do for a living? What about their work, friends and families?
There’s countless snippets of time here and there when I’m just thinking about the story, which characters will impact it and when and why they do. I spend a ton of time just thinking about my stories.
Finally, when I feel like my characters have spoken to me, I begin to write. That is the just the beginning, because I will read, and re-read my story for what seems like endless times, making changes here and there — just trying to say it the best way possible.
And when I bring in new characters, it is always for a reason. The reason helps me develop the character, but how that character interacts with the other characters — and therefore the story — also speaks to me along the way. I have always allowed my instincts to guide me. I’d like to think they’ve been right so far.
But in the end, I honestly feel as though I am simply a scribe.
It is all of my characters who tell the story — their story …