Do you fill in some questionnaire or do you have an idea that you develop with plans on developing the idea further as the character develop?
Might cause them to do something out of character... or might learn something new about that character when they do something that you weren't expecting. I learn new things about Geoffrey all the time, even though I've been writing about him for years. I like that.
If a woman who has a close and relationship with her older sister suddenly stops talking to that sister, is she acting out of character, or is there something about her and her sister that wasn't obvious? Real people often act in unexpected ways. That doesn't mean it isn't realistic for them to act that way, only that the surface isn't the whole picture.
I can relate to these sentiments, especially the part about growing bored of your story before actually writing it. While I do need a certain degree of direction whenever I write, I have found that putting too much thought into the preliminary planning does sap me of energy that could be spent on the writing. In my experience, the best method that works for me is to start writing with only the sort of vague ideas you describe in mind, but then let the plot grow in my head as I write.Right now, even as I type this, there's a sucessful and well-known novelist sitting in his home in Ohio and struggling to write his current work-in-progress because he has already done all the planning out, and now he's slightly bored with the story that he hasn't even written yet and wants to move on to something else. The fun part - the act of discovery - is already over for him.
When I was a lot younger (this was back in the last century), I was told by one intructor that outlines are essential for writing any fiction, even short stories. "You wouldn't build a house without a blueprint, would you?" was her explanation. My response to that was, "I don't build stories like houses; I grow them like trees." I have an idea for where to start, I have a few things that need to happen in the middle, and I have a general idea of where it will all end up, but I don't want to know in advance how it all works out.
For many people, characters are not living, breathing entities
I don't talk to them, per se, but I definitely play around with them in my mind.
This one'll throw some of you for a loop... A lot of my characters come out of music.
So kids instead grew up fearing to play let's-pretend, even in their own heads, because someone might think they're, y'know, crazy.[/qote]
Luckily, I've never been affected by this. Maybe, because I've never meant to share all the stuff in my own head with people who might think I'm crazy because of this.
My whole story creation process works as some sort of mental role-playing game which I have to sort through afterwards to turn it into a proper story. Takes quite a while. My main characters have never been created but simply exist in my mind for reasons I'm not quite sure of myself. One of my two main female characters has been around for many years for example, even living in completely different settings before. My approach to writing usually is about finding a plot that suits characters and world rather then the other way round. Failing at this is probably the main reason for the many rewrites my story required but I think I'm on a hopeful path at the moment.
With minor characters, I usually tend to use a more usual way. I start with something like "I need a character Y who does X", then I'm trying to find a name. Names are a great source of inspiration for me as well. When I've found one, I'm trying to find reasons why Y does X and usually, this inspires more background for the character. Depending on his or her importance, I'm getting more or less details. Gender is usually defined before, looks depend on the way I'm imagining them in my head.