THEY are alive, in answer to this week’s topic:
Do I have a formula for creating a protagonist or an antagonist?
Short answer: No
This is mainly because I don’t set out to ‘dream up’ stories or characters. Inspiration comes to me pretty quickly from an event, (personal experience or relayed to me), a ‘what if?’ (from another story), a picture, or in at least one case, an idea given to me.
The characters in my stories are either based on people I know or they pretty much evolve within the story their stories, rather than me generating them.
A pulp writer I will never be.
I have spoken here about characters taking off and having fights I never intended, or showing up in scenes where I never planned for them to be, (or inviting themselves to my protagonists’ table for lunch!) I find myself struggling a bit between my own ideas and those of my characters. I now have trouble ending one story with a couple, because I had always foreseen the woman putting two and two together and now, the husband insists on telling her ….well, you’ll have to wait and see, (I will have to wait and see!)
I’ve also had characters who simply do not want to cooperate and so, they are out or their parts or are reduced to next to nothing, (a ‘walk-on’ as it were).
It’s almost like raising children: You give life to them and have the best intentions for them, but as they grow, they are going to make their own choices, much of it out of your control and only sometimes can you help them or will they accept your guidancel
my characters seem to be the same.
I wondered many times if I was losing my mind, until I heard a narration about C. S. Lewis speaking about his incredibly popular Narnia series. He would get letters asking him to write concerning the past or future of some of his characters and he would respond that he would love to, “but they haven’t told me their stories”.
A man after my own heart.
Can I create characters out of thin air?
Yes, but they usually arrive with a lot of baggage.