I am 100% character driven. Obviously. Everything I do in life comes from my character. The choices I make, the things I like, the men I date, even down to where I live, and what I eat for breakfast. So it is in my life, so I make it in the characters I create in my books. Everything comes from character.
Before I write one word in a book, I spend at least a week developing my characters. I have used a book called Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon for the past 7 years to help me create. In his book he has an extensive character interview template, plus names, first and last from various cultures and ethnic groups. He includes emotional responses and gestures, job suggestions, flaws and quirks, and some basic vocabulary in different languages. It’s a buffet of information that I use in the creation process.
Each character I create, I start with the basics, what do they look like, down to weight and height and any distinguishing features like moles or tattoos. Then I think about what kind of clothes do they wear, what do they drive, where do they live, what kinds of foods do they like. What kind of job do they have? What was their childhood like? Then I will use astrology to determine their sign and some of their personality traits good and bad. It’s the flaws that I love to explore. It’s those imperfections that make the best characters. That’s why Caden Butcher from my book Demon Whisperer is one of my most favorite characters. He has flaws coming out of his ears.
If I still don’t get a sense of who my characters are, I will interview them with questions from the book. It is only when I can hear their voice in my head, do I prepare to actually write their story. The devil is in the detail. And the detail is all about character.
Who are some of your favorite flawed characters from books, movies or TV?