Two weeks until November which means two weeks until the start of Nanowrimo. For those of you who don’t know, Nanowrimo is a personal challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the thirty days of November. A lot of my friends and I spend the time prior to the start of Nanowrimo planning or generating a few plot ideas. Others decide to enter the challenge blind and just start writing with no set plot. While I admire these creative minds, I prefer to at least have my main character set.
I go about creating a main character in a few different ways and generally, I create my character prior to inventing a plot.
Pinterest Board of Characters
I have a board saved on Pinterest where I include photographs or striking individuals or models that inspire me. I often will look up specific facial features such as scars or hairstyles to use as a reference when describing a character.
I love fashion. And I believe that both in real life and literature, what someone wears can reveal quite a lot about them. I often start by sketching a character and drawing out their hairstyle and outfit (I avoid face details because I am not artistic enough). I tend to just design whatever comes to mind whether that’s a post-apocalyptic outfit crafted from trash bags, a ball gown shredded from a sword fight, or a chic outfit for a business woman. From there, I try to imagine a character that would wear this outfit, where they would wear it to, and what is the scene that takes place with this outfit on.
One of the most important aspects to a character is what is their motivation. What do they want and what is in their way? This will also help to flesh out potential plot lines.
Dating Profile Questions
There are hundreds of character questions available online for writers to utilize when creating and understanding a character. Some of my personal favorites include…
What is their perfect first date?
What is their biggest fear?
Do they have any tattoos? If so, what are there and do they have any meaning?
What kind of music do they listen to?
Where do they go for vacation?
If in a fantasy realm, what is their relationship with magic? Are they human? If not, how are they different from humans both physically and emotionally?
These are the most fun features of a character, in my opinion, and are a great way to flesh out and individualize your characters. Quirks, ticks, odd scars and personal deformities help make a character come alive.
I hope some of these are helpful to your creative processes. Good luck to anyone participating in Nanowrimo and please share your own tips and tricks in the comments!