Where do you start when developing a character? How do you make characters not sound the same, whether they be narrators, main characters; heroes, villains, or something in between? How do you explore the thoughts of characters without boring old "so and so thought", "so and so wondered"? I don't know all about you but my characters all ultimately come filtered through my head, so how do you not make them all sound like yourself, the author? Do you plot out character arcs, or do you simply start with a motivation and a flaw and pants around? Do you experience extreme, paralyzing dread and anxiety when it comes to character? If so, how do you overcome it? If not, why not? --- Setting of my WIP, The Vale: depression as a place we go to, where the wrinkles of the brain become the trenches. Yes. There are trenches. Think of the Great War. This network of trenches is older than any soul there can remember. They may as well have existed always. There is the mist. You might as well think of The Mist, except there aren't spooky monsters. It functions similar to the darkness in Metro 2033 if anybody has read that book (probably not, but it's good, and the game is... decent). This mist goes by several other names but they all refer to the same thing, this fog that seems to have sentience, this "abyss" that staring into or breathing in or otherwise being exposed to will assault your mind. I'm going for a more psychological thriller here, if you're the type of person who needs a pigeon-hole to get started. I'm exploring some ideas about spirituality as well, but let's just go with psychological thriller since that would appear to be the most dominant aspect. To be more specific, an example that I'm exploring is the relationship between faith and meaning and cynicism and nihilism and depression. Characters who find themselves in this place called "Arago" don't know how they got there, where "there" is, or who they are. So amnesia. Kind of similar to Maze Runner or whatever. These similarities are ones I'm drawing now to try and help you get a feel for things. They weren't pre-planned or anything. Another classic example would be the Lethe river, the waters of which result in "unmindfulness" or forgetfulness. There are two primary factions: those who believe it is best to forget there was anything forgotten, and those who seek to remember. Main characters: Sammael Morgan, who has taken the role of leading the town and protecting its inhabitants. Seeing the suffering caused by believing that they have been damned, he does not see himself as the antagonist at all, but rather the one who's duty it is to maintain order, keep this mysterious abyss at bay, and (to write it with a ham in my fist) build bliss in ignorance. He sees Father Anthoney and those who share the Father's beliefs as misguided at best, corrupting at worst. Father Anthoney. He is the de facto leader of the faction who believes in seeking salvation. He views Morgan as a necessary evil, as much a defender as he is an imprisoner. Our MC, who I still cannot come up with a satisfactory name for. Names are, in a sense, arbitrarily chosen but I cannot come up with a method for this that satisfies me. Chosen by who, and how? Morgan is essentially the antagonist to our MC, who after much restlessness comes to the conclusion that he will slowly wither and die if he stays. There is a character who I intend to be a personification of this abyss, whom the MC has interactions and conversations with throughout the story. His purpose is not yet entirely clear to me. One tangible conflict that I want to build is an increasing faction of people who want to leave, met by increasing measures of Sammael's faction to keep order. Necessarily the MC and Sammael have a few supporting characters, but I haven't yet started to so much as sketch them out. They need to have good reason for siding with whichever character. For a time the MC is actually a member of Sammael's watch. It is after a period of struggles, losing a companion who was the first person he met when he woke up naked on the beach, saving a young man while on a dangerous expedition to map and regain an area of the trench network, where the MC finally realizes the futility of their struggle.