Inspired by Lisa Shearin's post today, I thought I'd write about how I thought up my characters.
Abriel is almost seven feet tall, but I actually thought of her after encountering a little person. He was an engineer at a job that I once worked at, and I used to watch him in a gaggle of other engineers, trekking from one end of a quarter-mile long hallway (not kidding) to the other, and keeping up despite his short legs.
It occurred to me that I could remember every encounter with a little person that I ever had. Think about it. They're that rare. Since George R. R. Martin had already come up with Tyrion Lannister (my favorite character in that series, by the way), I decided to go to the other extreme. Abriel has a condition called Gigantism, where she does not stop growing. Andre the Giant had the same condition.
I test-drove Abriel as a character during a role-playing session with my husband. The original Abriel was extremely promiscuous. That was one feature that I didn't keep when I transfered her from the game to the novel.
Tory--or Victoria--was actually born as a character during another role-playing game years ago. Tory's origin character was a super-hero named Elizabeth Lawrence. I played Liz with a very outgoing, gregarious personality who made friends with everyone. This sometimes bit her in the butt. When I came up with the Starcaster world, I realized that this was the perfect role for Liz, except I wanted her to be named Victoria, after my daughter. (My daugher, with her baby-talk, gave me the idea for Starcaster.) I kept Liz's last name as a sort of template to help me glue her character in my mind.
Tory evovled to be very different from Liz. Liz could kick butt and was a mental fortress. Tory is almost pure thief with the personality of a morning news anchor.
I'll do the guys in another post. If you write, did you come up with your characters?