by Shelt Garner
The only reason why I’m obsessing about developing the characters in my novel so late in the game is I finally know what the story is about. As such, I now realize I have a strong plot and a strong canon, but when it comes to my characters I pretty much have empty vessels that walk around the other two without any motivation.
I am hoping to change that by cramming as much as I can about how to build not just characters, but people. I want my characters to be “real” in the minds of my audience. And the more I look into how to do that, the more I realize that’s a pretty road ahead. But it does help a lot that I’m drawing upon the resource of people I knew in Seoul 12 years ago. They were a pretty kooky lot — as was I — and so now I have to spend some time reading, reading, reading about things to flesh out these characters which to date have simply been placeholder “moods” that I used to think about the plot and canon.
Or, put another way, this is yet another re-calibration of this project. The story is going to get much, much better now. I’m giving myself some slack time to simply read as much as possible about how to build character, as well as the things these characters would be interested in, before I get back to writing.
I hope by the end of this process to have near-absolute control over my characters so they do what I need them to do in the context of my vision for the story. (Or, in this case, one story, two books.) That’s the goal, at least. I can’t keep spinning my wheels forever.
So, the next few days will be spent reading up on a lot of things I’ve thought about reading about, but have put off. No more. I’m really cramming about the interaction between plot, canon and character so I can turn around and write something good enough that people like, actually give me an opinion when they read it, instead of just silence.