I am getting my butt kicked right now by a person that doesn’t fully exist in my own mind. Before you call the insane asylum let me explain. In my current WIP I am attempting to bring to life the 2nd most important character and I just can’t get my head around him yet. While taking a little break I came up with something that I think is a very important question, How does you character see them-self?
I have created a back-story for the character, hobbies, obsessions, motivations, etc, etc. But I am struggling to find the character’s voice. So if I can figure out how the character see’s himself then I should be able to find out WHO he is, instead of simply what he has been through. All of us has an image of who we are. Now it doesn’t necessarily mean who we THINK we are accurately reflects reality, but I believe it gives us clues into how we think.
I have shared before that I mild social-anxiety. When I get into large groups of people I get very nervous, quiet, tongue-tied, the whole nine yards. In my head everything that comes out of my mouth at these times doesn’t make sense, comes out as a whisper, and generally makes me look like an idiot. Yet unless I tell people about my condition they generally don’t know. They will tell me I seem witty, charismatic, and relaxed. Now I am not just telling you this to let you know how cool I am (but that is honestly the point of this whole post), I am telling you this because people who barely know me see me one way, while those who know me will see me in another.
So what is more important? How I see myself or how others see me? I believe to have a fully fledged character you have to know & understand both. Right now I understand how other people see my character but I have yet to understand how he see’s himself.
I am no longer interested in what my character physically looks like, I want to know how he THINKS he looks. I don’t want to know what his friends think of him, I want to know what he thinks his friends think of him :-p I can tell it is going to be a struggle but the more I “learn” about this character the better and more believable he will be.
What do you all do to help develop a character who refuses to take form?