Writing Books/Getting to know the characters
I'm starting my first novel and getting to know my
main characters but, since i have never completed a novel,
i don't know how best to do this and i sometimes feel a little discouraged by the large number of characters i need to create.
What i want to ask is how do you get to know your main characters
when you start writing? Is there a process you go through?
Every writer eventually finds his own personal way of creating. There is no right or wrong way to do this; therefore, all I can do is tell you how I approach writing a novel, creating characters and plot.
I have to begin with an idea or a question. I have to have an era, a place, and a setting. I have to know my first character's name, gender and approximate age. Then I sit down at the computer and I type a sentence. And I type another. Perhaps these two sentences are not very good, but I continue typing, avoiding editing. This exercise releases your creative mind and gets you out of the "editing" mind or into the right brain and out of the left. My characters come as they are needed. They simply show up and they tell me who they are and what part they are to play. I allow them to help me write the story. And I allow them to be true to themselves. And here is the most important thing I do. I do not edit, correct, re-write, polish, or even consider doing these things until I have a complete, rough draft of my entire novel. The only thing I do is this: sometimes I feel the story going astray and I have to get back on track. Sometimes the going astray is where the story really needs to go and I go with it. It becomes a matter of "feel". Often I do not know what scene will be next or how the plot will develop or how the book will end until I get there or almost there. I have to trust my creative mind to lead me and I have to trust my characters. This process has never failed me. I also never allow anyone to read the story or any part of it until I have completed at least two rewrites.
Now to the rewrite process. This is where I restructure, cut and paste, delete, add, work for continuity, clarity and correctness. I do as many as 8 or 10 rewrites before I am totally satisfied that I have made it as balanced as possible.
I suggest you try this and see how you go. This may work for you as it does for me, or it may not. You may need to do the outline procedure. (I never use outline and could not if I wanted to.)
Keep me posted and let me know if you are making progress.