Character driven fiction is always deeper and more satisfying than that driven by plot. That’s a personal opinion, and many writers will disagree. But it’s how I write. I devise my characters first, get to know them, and then set them down in the location I’ve chosen/invented and place barriers on their route to their desired destination.
Here, I give you the file I used for Acacia, the moderator/narrator for the first book in the Generation Mars series, Blood Red Dust. The picture is one I extracted from the internet and is actually not the one I used for the initial character sketch: that one was lost when I had to transfer files from the iCloud that backed-up my Mac to the new Windows PC I now use. But it gives an idea of how I go about developing a character.
Let me know what you think.
|EYES||Dark blue and sparkling|
|HAIR||Red, short, untidy by choice|
|EARS||Pierced and sometimes bearing ludicrous earrings|
|MOUTH||Small and generally neutral but capable of smiling and kissing as well as sulking and shouting.|
|HEIGHT||5’ 10” 1.78m|
|SCARS||Four-inch line down left forearm from broken glass when she was tripped and fell through a glass door. But this has now been removed.|
|IMPERFECTIONS||A touch too thin, but naturally so, no eating disorders|
|COLOUR||The pallid complexion of the redhead|
|RACE||Mixed Caucasian and Chinese|
|AGE||9 in Mars years in Book 1. 226 Mars years for Book 2.|
|SEXUALITY||Settled on heterosexuality and active in the sense that she’s always happy to have sex with the man she’s partnering if she fancies him.|
|STATUS||Single – it’ll take a clever, attractive and radically minded man to capture her into any sort of domesticity|
|JOB||Student in second year of a journalism course in book 1, now mainly a writer in book 2.|
|RELATIONSHIPS||Parents both living. Many brothers and sisters. Her great aunt is Jannine who gave birth to her Grandmother.|
|LIKES||Politics, discussion, intelligent company, peace and quiet when studying, learning, artists and art, celery, cider.|
|DISLIKES||Laws, rules, politicians, leaders of almost any sort, violence, fashion, cheese, yellow.|
|HABITS||Surveys the ground when thinking and often looks sad when she isn’t|
|CLOTHES||Whatever she feels comfortable in, which is as little as necessary. Mixes and mismatches, an elegant ragbag.|
|CREATIVITY||Good with her eye and hands – makes papier mâché caricature reliefs of people.|
|TIDINESS||Only as necessary|
|ORGANISATION||Highly organized in interests but disorganized socially, often forgetting important dates in the family and friends lives.|
|VOICE||A surprisingly deep tone to her slightly husky voice – easy to listen to, and persuasive.|
|Pop group & song||Transgender Chicken Tomorrow I May Dream|
Acacia is bright, well-read, and privileged. She’s a talented artist in her own way; creating images of people from papier mâché stuck to flat surfaces as a sort of relief caricature and then painted. These can be very cruel. She’s determined, able and clever. But she’s also her own type of idealist, wanting to change her world for the better as she sees it. Not openly proselytizing, she nevertheless insinuates her ideas into the minds of others where and when she can. She is vocal over things she’s passionate about, but can be silent and appear to be listening intently if she feels she might learn something of value. Her mind is only partly open, rejecting the assault of those ideas that don’t either fit with or echo her own. She’s an anarchist who truly believes there are still too many laws. Very sexy and very sexual. Has tried sex with both men and women and chosen to stick with men because she enjoys that more, on balance. Uninhibited, she’s posed nude for artist friends for drawings and paintings, enjoying this and the sex that often resulted. Although an anarchist by nature, she’s not a breaker of rules simply for the sake of it. Hers is more of a theoretical resistance. She’s not about to destroy the rule of law with acts of terrorism, understanding such actions are indiscriminate, ineffective and just plain wrong. Amongst her peers she can be quite cutting and cruel, but she displays a certain deference to those she sees as wiser, in spite of her deep-seated conviction that society is over-regulated. She’s no respecter of age or rank simply because of its existence; respect is earned with her.
In book one she was a student presenting her thesis for her PhD. She now spends her time writing novels, learning, researching via computers, travelling as far as possible, exploring and generally living a life of pleasure of all sorts.
In the party that rescued Daisa from Marzero.
(This post is scheduled, as I’m taking a break from the insistent pressure of social media to restore some sanity into my life. So, there’ll be a delay in responding to any comments. But I will get back to you if you make a comment on the post.)