- Creating characters is fun and while I don't write biographies for them as such, I love inventing enough details I can (a) add to at a later date and (b) enables me to hit the ground running, so so speak, when I write about them.
- The way a well developed character springs to life and it doesn't matter what situation you put them in, you know how they will react most of the time.
- Those occasions when your well developed character surprises you and reveals something about themselves you had not originally thought of. You then realise that this surprise adds depth to them, makes your stories more interesting etc so it definitely stays in!
- When writing dialogue for these characters comes naturally because you do know them well enough.
- Sometimes creating one good character can lead directly to the creation of another. Sidekicks are valuable and useful additions!
- The way the characters interact with each other and you can almost physically feel your story coming to life and taking off the way it should do.
- I can explore other ideas and behaviours through my characters that are appropriate to my stories but which I myself do not agree with. For example, Brankaresh, my dodgy wizard, is sexist with which I have no sympathy but I have risen to the challenge of trying to work out how he would justify that stance. That kind of challenge can be interesting.
- That lovely world you've spent time creating is now populated and raring to go to be written about!
- Plot versus character or vice versa? Don't bother with the debate. Both are crucial. The most exciting plot is useless without the right characters and their characteristics behind it. Characters themselves can drive plot. My Eileen is as awkward and stubborn as they can which lands her in it repeatedly and drives the plot of my novels. Someone as sweet as pie simply wouldn't land themselves in it.
- I should stress this has not happened to me yet (!) but I have read interviews over the years where it is clear authors have had huge amounts of fun creating characters who are composites of those they dislike! Never offend a writer - you'll end up being bumped off and not even realise it!
I'm Allison Symes and write fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.