25 August 2011

Characters First?

Hi everyone,

I'm a new blogger here at Beyond the Veil! My name is Leslie Dicken and write paranormals, fantasy and historicals (gothic and steampunk). Guess I can't settle on just one subgenre! But one thing is the same no matter what type of story I'm writing: plot comes first.

I'm supposed to write about specific characters, ones I love or hate, but I'd rather talk about how creating characters comes SECOND when I'm brainstorming a story.

I hear over and over again how authors come up with their characters...THEN they figure out the plot or storyline that works for that character. I heard that J.K. Rowling came up with Harry Potter, the character, while on a train ride. She didn't think of Hogwarts or the Sorcerer's Stone, but of the boy who was a wizard and lived with his muggle aunt and uncle.

As for me? I first have an idea of a story or theme or a plot. For example, I wanted to write about a hero who learns he is not an earl, but a bastard (A TARNISHED HEART). Or an alien who dislikes humans but must find one to help his home planet (THE PRICE OF DISCOVERY). Or a society where two cultures have lived apart from one another for so long, they've evolved differently (TABOO). An isolated manor with a hero who thinks he's committed murder (BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST). I've even just wanted to combine various subgenres into one story: steampunk, historical, suspense (THE IRON HEART, Feb 2012).

None of them started with the idea of central character who needed to find a story. They all started with an idea...a plot or theme or just a challenge to myself.

Hopefully, the characters I created for these stories are just as well-developed as those authors who start with character first. :-)

If you're an author, which do you come up with first: character or plot?
As a reader, what makes you feel a connection with a character in a story?
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