Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Characters outside your box

I'm going to try to write this post without referring to MBTI -- I should write about MBTI and character development, and I will, but I don't want to get into an infodump right now.

But I do want to get some thoughts out about creating characters. Particularly characters who are different from yourself. Not just in their favorite foods or their personal histories -- different in what's important to them, or how they make decisions. Deeply different.

During one of my blog tours, an interviewer asked what I admired in Disciple's main character, Kate. She's much braver about relationships than I am. Much more willing to hope and look for a way to make relationships work. But while Kate's different from me in some ways, we also have things in common: we both think in terms of logic and function, rather than emotions and harmony. We both tend to find the "right answer" within ourselves, rather than looking for consensus with other people.

That's a rather large division, between the logicals and the harmonizers. Both are valid ways to make decisions, but it can be hard to understand someone who does it the other way. I've been trying to work my way out of my logical box and try developing a character who's a harmonizer. A Feeler, in MBTI terms.

Which means that things which are instantly obvious to this character would not normally cross my mind... and I need to know far more about what's going on in his head than usual. I need to think about his emotional relationships with all the minor characters around him, because those are important to him.

Not that emotional relationships weren't important to Kate -- or aren't to me -- they just weren't the first priority in her mind all the time. For some people, they are.

I may need to write a lot more notes than usual, for this story.

What sorts of characters are challenging for you to write?

1 comment:

Liz said...

All characters are challenging for me to write. I have no idea what I'm doing.

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