Thursday, October 30, 2008

Character Origins

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?


  1. Jena's character in "Into This Mind" stemmed from what she needed to be.She needed to be rather easy going so that she, unlike others before her, wouldn't be driven mad by the situation she fell in.
    Her name was a merge between that of my sister (who died about 3 years ago) and my mother. (Jenny and Anna)

  2. I had to adapt my characters to the story as well. For example, Abriel as promiscuous didn't work once I started working on her love story.


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