Last night I had one of those moments when a character stepped into the light and showed me who she was for the first time. I’d tried to pre-establish a personality for her, and to some degree that was helpful. But characters are people, and you can’t force them to be someone they’re not.
I don’t know what makes those moments happen (heck, I need more of them) but the experience highlighted the importance of discovering who your character truly is as opposed to forcing them into a predetermined mold.
This character’s name is Elodie, and she’s a major character in one of my current projects. I thought she was going to be the quiet, thoughtful type. But then, out of the blue, she clicked into place, revealing who she really is. And that person has little to do with my previous notions.
Needless to say, I like her much better now. You can try to squeeze characters into a mold, but if they resist, you should probably let them express themselves.
Now I’m looking forward to spending time with Elodie and getting to know her even more. I know what awaits her in the story, and she’ll need to be ready!
Keep discovering your characters on reveal at a time.