Until the Himalayan writing retreat I never thought about creating a character. It was about a narrative and characters just emerged, their interactions happened and me and my readers reacted to them to an extent judged them too.
At the retreat for the first time I tried to analyse my characters, or rather build a character, I realize the onus is much more. However I think I should seriously put in an effort to try these various aspects out.
So what goes into creating a character…?
Normally how would I go about it, I would first create the image of the person, which would be the physical description. The kind of clothes the person wears, the way he or she walks falls into place. My characters now begin to resemble people in my real world. The food they eat, the music they hear, the kind of taste and touch they respond to.
The character of course has a name, age and sex. From there the kind of emotions they have, the way they deal with situation.
One technique that has worked for is something I picked from Dame Agatha Christie, that is in a restaurant look at the table next, there will be people and imagine their lives. From Chetan Mahajan, I figure this not the way to go about it. I would need to work a bit more.
To me characters are about dealing with conflicts and resolution. But Chetan says they are about desires… wanting things well conflicts could raise from that too. Then we put them on the grid
- What do they want?
- What are their flaws…(honourable and virtuous people do make great characters)
- Where are from?…literal and emotional
- Where are they going?
- What can your character do to surprise me?
Now my own journey is I would begin writing things and what emerged would be totally different, the entire story would surprise me:
This was something I came up in 15mnts time that we were given for trails.
Vertically and horizontally challenged. With page boy style of hair that went out when Lady Diana died… multiple ear piercing and nose Peirce on the right instead of the left.
At 50, Mangle is married with two sons. Husband Mr.Pandey works for Kevin refrigeration solutions as their India operational head. More flamboyant of the two Mr.Pandey has been featured on the leading Business magazines of the country.
Despite being Mr.Pandey’s batch mate and the class topper Mangal did her stint in safe jobs with a few MNC’s in their mundane divisions. Juggling roles of motherhood, being the wife, daughter and daughter-in-law Mangal stayed latent. Economically she did manage but her wings were clipped.
Anger, frustration and loneliness seem to the only companions. There were times when she was sick of listening about this teacher and that teacher. As an answer she joined the ladies club, which was worse, the day women day celebration was competition for sorting mixed pulses, and who folds the bed sheet fastest she quit.
When realized her anger management session of throwing broken crockery on the wall was happening with increasing frequency she attended a self help program. She created a bucket list, joined toastmaster, had a short online affair and moved on. It was the healing the inspiration to move one came, “Brahma Vidya” words create emerged.
Of course small things like swimming across nethravati, wild water rafting at Dandeli is still on her bucket list, scheduled between care giving her elderly parents-in-law and parents. Her Apple Mac Book, I-phone and Tata Zest are still her prized possessions.
With Brahma Vidya giving her required adrenaline , the challenge, it was her Doberman Sheru who let her relax. Travelling round on work from her home base in Bangalore, Mangal’s mantra was when things get tough the tough eat chocolates
So far I have not justified my character, or maybe they have got justified by default I am not sure. Nor have done such elaborate analysis of any of my characters. I should try it out when the next indispire prompt is out.