I’m no expert, I’ve only just finished my first proper work of fiction, but creating characters is the part of fiction writing that I enjoy the most.
Over the years, I have barely scratched the surface of my characters’ persona in short stories, but that is about to change. You can write a story, but you need a strong protagonist to make it fly and the good news is that the inspiration is all around you.
I’ve always been an avid people watcher. For example, in a restaurant, I am guilty of allowing my attention to drift and find myself focussing on the body language and banter of fellow diners; much to the annoyance of those actually on my table.
When I was younger, I used to write everything down. Every earwigged conversation, every out of the ordinary interaction between strangers, whilst I was waiting for a train or out shopping. I used to wake up during the night and jot down a summary of the weird dream I just had.
I’m not sure why I stopped doing it, maybe because at the time I was focussed on writing factual content and not creating fictitious characters whose personalities would be moulded from the traits of every single person I have ever met. But, I have started again and it’s such a useful thing to do… especially when your memory is not quite as razor-sharp as it used to be 😉
It’s such a simple thing to do and I was reminded of the importance of writing down your observations by Sally Wainwright who, to me, is a character building virtuoso.