Authors, Where Do You Find Your Characters?

Over and over again, I preach the concept:  ‘let it flow’, ‘let your characters take you on a journey’, ‘If it’s going well, I will happily be just the typist’.

I recently interviewed Dean Koontz and here’s what he said on the subject:

Photographer: Thomas Engstrom

“And then I start. In the first few chapters, the lead characters are forming, and I am learning who they are. I’ve often said that if I give characters free will, if I don’t plot out the story and instead present them with a problem and watch them deal with it, they begin to take on a life of their own, frequently surprising me with the choices they make. This is mysterious and exciting. When it’s going well, it’s simultaneously an intense intellectual endeavor and an almost dream-state journey of wonder and emotion.”

Author, Matt Jorgenson recently said when asked: Where do you first discover your characters?
“Initially I don’t think of them as characters. It’s kind of like arranging furniture. I need OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsomething tall here, wide there, elegant there. I often just plop them in for the energy they lend to the development of the story. When I’m unable to sit at my laptop and write I will often sketch out backstories for some of the characters with pen and paper based on what seems reasonable according to how they act/function in the story and then weave those details back in later.”

Author, Sherryl Woods

Sheryl Woods wrote in her interview: “I find inspiration all around me. I think that comes from being a journalist at heart. I’m naturally curious, so I’m always listening to people, observing, and looking for a great story. If a fire engine passes me, I’m always tempted to chase after it just to see what’s going on.”

That’s excellent advice!  If not literally, figuratively CHASE after a story or character!

That has happened to me regularly.  One dramatic event was when my antagonist, Charlie, (Women Outside the Walls) took a visitor hostage in the prison visiting room.  This stopped my writing for three months while I researched hostages and hostage negotiations.  I was not happy with Charlie’s actions at the time!
Another time, one of my more entertaining characters (from one book; The Act of Murder)  walked off the elevator in another book in the series. Arnie’s a pushy sort. What a nice surprise that was for this writer.
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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!       Julia London and M.J. Moores (December) and Tavia Gilbert later in the winter!  My review of a new book, Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz will be posted for the  release date of December 8th.

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