After seeing how some newer writers struggle with characters that don't fit in with their stories or are too similar to something else, like a movie, I thought I would try to create a resource thread. My question: What is your creative process and where do you write? in general writing is a resounding success, so I thought hard on and come up with this so we can point our newer here, where everyone shares how they create and mold their characters. If possible upload a sample file to share if it's going to be pages long. ======= Here is my personal favorite way to create/refine a character. ======= I first come up with a name and potential occupation role in the story. In this case Lamont Milson The villain of Without a Will (book 2) I describe him, bearing in mind that the description may change at any time. Lamont is a man with long dreadlocks and skin the color of dark chocolate. He has a strong, muscular build and is in his 40s. His clothing preference is a snazzy tunic cinched by a thin belt. Vines cover his leggings because he likes vines that climb things. His dreadlocks are back in a large ponytail. He wears a single bracelet on his wrist. I leave him alone for a while do some writing with him, in this case I used him as a main villain in the second book, hoping that he would develop along the way. However, this fails miserably. He was simply a jerk following orders via the main villain's magic talent. I pulled him out and started interviewing him. Here is the first page and a half, I continue for a total of 7 pages before I wrap it up. Lamont Milson Interview We’re going to yank Lamont out of the story and see what makes him tick. This is set in a magic world, with magic talents. This character is a mid level wizard with a great talent that he cannot control. Watch as I brainstorm a new background for him. Just before Lamont gets trapped in the stasis crystal I yank him out for an interview in an effort to make him a better character. After a few minor tweaks to make him compliant he is sitting in front of me having a milkshake in my local Steak-n-Shake, but without anyone but a server and the kitchen staff. Jen, the server, places our milkshakes down. “Your order will be ready shortly, Xade and company.” “Thanks,” I say, opening up my laptop. I open up Atlantis Ocean Mind and look up at Lamont, who is enjoying a double chocolate brownie, low-fat shake. “So, Lamont, you’ve been likened to an jerk following Thour’s orders and I wish to change that. Tell me about yourself.” “What would you like to know?” asks Lamont, taking his straw and opening it. “You made me so you already know all about me.” “Well, no I don’t know all about you, that is the meaning for this interview.” I say. “You are one of the more undeveloped characters. I already interviewed Thour for his motivations. Now it’s your turn.” “Well, he has my sons, a good father will do anything for his children.” “I used that on Mathias, and freed him in the adventure.” I say dismissively while I scoop the cherry out of my mint chocolate chip milkshake. “His daughter was in stasis. Let’s talk about why Thour let your sons mature and become close to Vincent. I never really gave much thought about that but it’s something that we can use to make the jerk deep.” “You want to make the jerk a deep man eh?” asks Lamont shrewdly. “I’ll play along with that if it makes the story better.” “It will.” I assure him, opening up a recording program. “Hmm,” Lamont takes a few moments to collect his thoughts, dipping his spoon into his shake and taking a bite. “I suppose I’ve always had this insecurity issue because of my talent.” “Go on,” I say when he pauses and looks at me for confirmation. “We can run with this any way you want, Lamont, providing that it stays true to the laws of Xade.” “Third degree mood manipulation.” Lamont stirs his spoon in his shake. “The thing with third degree is that it is always active to make me more likable or hateable, depending on the situation. A part is always working no matter what, there is no fine control like there would be on first or second.” “I could argue that point, depending on what the talent does,” I nod to Jen as she sets our steak burgers and fries before us. “First degree enhancement for example is almost always acting on the owner, enhancing parts that he does not notice. It all depends on the talent itself.” “Can I turn it off?” I pick up a fry and gesture with it. “Not you, no, that’s why it’s classified as third, just like Alexand’s reading hidden written things; every time he closes his eyes there’s always a chance he will see something, especially if it’s addressed to him or someone he cares about.” See the enclosed file ============= Anyhow, My friend that I mention near the end suggested that. My favorite writing instructor author does something similar but she posts a "job request" and puts it away for a bit then reads it again every few days until a character steps forward from the back of her mind and "applies" for the job. She then interviews them for the job. If she decides they are a good fit she irons out all the details. So, what's your favorite way to invent r reinvent characters?