Characters, an essential part to any story. So how do you create them? Some people I know sit down and create a worksheet for each character keeping track of their quirks, physical details and any other pertinent information. And they do this before writing a word of their manuscript. It’s not a bad concept and I tried it, because I can see the pros of having a sheet like that handy.
The trouble is that I don’t know too much about my characters before I start writing them. It sounds romantic, letting the writing flow and your character form as you write. And to an extent it is, but it is also a pain in the ass when you realise that your character had a tick mysteriously appear half way through a manuscript. So I thought I would create the worksheet after the first draft. Yeah, turns out I suck at that. So how do I keep track? Pinterest.
For all the fact that I’m a writer and voracious reader, I’m actually a pretty visual person and Pinterest allows me the freedom of ‘seeing’ my characters. An example of this is Magnus Highwater from my manuscript, A Balance of Secrets. He’s a headstrong duke’s son with a penchant for knives. So Bradley Cooper is on my Balance of Secrets Pinterest board as Magnus, as well as pictures of knives, daggers and swords. Another character, Master Lucian, can control fire and there is a picture on my board of a man holding a ball of flames to represent him. There are also pictures of clothing for specific characters, representative of what they would wear to certain events or in daily life. With a click or tap of a finger I can see my characters and it triggers my brain into remembering all about them.
I find it a fantastic aid when I’m stuck as well. An example is the character Tuarwen. I knew there was something striking about her physical appearance but had no clue what. So I browsed Pinterest and stumbled upon a picture of a woman with red hair. It was the first thing I noticed about her and suddenly I knew Tuarwen had red hair. You need to have a general idea before you browse though, otherwise you’ll look up from the screen only to realise that hours have passed. I also use it to fix the scenery in my mind. In a way it’s my way of planning my story without having to actually plan much.
So if you’re struggling to keep track of your characters, why not give Pinterest a go? And if you don’t struggle, let me know what’s working for you.
Have a happy and creative week everyone 🙂