Now that I’ve submitted Book 2 to my editor, I’m left with two new projects. I don’t know about you, but I’m finding them incredibly daunting. Like…how will I ever write another 80k? One thing that a very wise friend said, was maybe I didn’t know my characters enough yet. Which, at first I thought I did know them, but now, I’m not so sure. Just because I’ve written them before, does NOT mean I know what makes them tick. Not completely at least.
Now, I’ve made no secret that Book 3 is planned to be Davan’s book. I know little facts about him. For instance:
-he’s not Caucasian
-he loves to cook
-he manipulates the shadows
-he’s an assassin
But this doesn’t define him. Who is he? What are his likes and dislikes? What are his fears? Well, a fear could be that he could get stuck in shadow form forever and that’s definitely I plan to play around with a bit. Why does he like cooking? Is it just his way of escaping the ugliness of the world he lives in? Does it make him feel more like a family with the other members of his squad if he cooks? What else?
Now, at the Centre, my characters aren’t dictated by the customs or beliefs of other cultures. I don’t mix that in because they’ve been raised in isolation. They may have learned about it, but it doesn’t affect them. They are their own culture in their own right. A small fact, at the Centre, they don’t celebrate many of the holidays we do. They don’t have Thanksgiving or Christmas or Valentine’s Day…or even birthdays. It’s not their way of life. That doesn’t mean the characters don’t sneak each other presents, however.
Every character has a coping method, something they do to survive just one more day. It may be their ‘secret’ or their secret may be something else altogether that has helped shaped who they are. And there lies the difficulty of truly knowing what makes a character tick.
So what makes Davan tick?
He was trained to be an assassin. The man who does the dirty work for the Council. How does he feel about this? Is it just another part of his life that he barely thinks about it anymore or does he wonder about each target, who they are and what they may have done? Does he question the Council as much as J.C.?
When creating characters, I go through a lot of what ifs and Q&As. I know some people swear by character interviews but I can’t. How can I write Davan’s answers if I don’t even know them?! It doesn’t just jump out at me like this. Neither do I look at archetypes. Heck, I don’t even know an archetype. I’d rather not box my character into that kind of description.
How do you create your characters? Or…readers, what do you wish you knew more in regards to characters?