- Do you name your characters before/after you create them?
- How fully do you develop your characters before you begin to write?
- Do your characters evolve from the initial creation as you write?
- Do you (or rather, have you ever . . .) change the names of your characters midstream?
I don't know about the rest of you, but my characters rarely appear fully developed with names intact, like Aphrodite from Zeus's brow. No, life isn't that simple.
In answer to my own questions, in order of appearance . . .
Do you name your characters before/after you create them?
For the most part, I have no clue of a character's name when I first begin to create a character. I guess it's kind of like my Mom. When she became pregnant the first time, she wanted a boy and wanted to name him Steve. My sister Barb was the result of that pregnancy. No Steve for Mom. Same thing with the second pregnancy. Again, no Steve for Mom, just my sister Patti. Third time was the charm - Mom got her boy (not that she loved my sisters any less for being girls) and named him Steve. Woo-hoo. Fourth time around she got me, the favorite child. I'm just saying . . .
My current main character is named Seth. I wrote quite a bit about him before, while washing dishes by hand (yes, we have a dishwasher, there's just something relaxing about washing the dishes by hand . . . unless it's after a dinner party for eight, and then we use the dishwasher), I decided his name was Seth. I like the name. The name fits (at least for the moment) the character.
How fully do you develop your characters before you begin to write?
See above - somewhat. With Seth, I had the bare basics of the character in mind. I'd written the first paragraph before I came up with a name for my main character. Sometimes, I do an Excel worksheet with the basics - hair/eye color, height/weight, interests, family (# brothers/sisters, parents married, divorced), favorite drink . . . perhaps a margarita, and all the other jazz that makes the characters real and relateable to a reader. Then, I start to write and things will occur to me about the character. Yesterday, I wrote out one simple question: Who is Seth? I then started typing very brief responses to that question. Then, kept on writing. So, no, my characters are not fully developed before I begin to write. Are yours?
Do your characters evolve from the initial creation as you write?
See above answer. For the most part, after the first few chapters, my characters are set in stone. They do evolve in a gradual way, because isn't that the point of writing? Don't our characters have to go through an evolution of sorts to get from Point A to Point B? Don't our characters have to be somewhat elastic?
Now, I did change a secondary character from a fairly nice person to a very not so nice person in one manuscript. I needed someone not so nice and there was this secondary character, mainly on the sidelines with nothing to do. I felt kind of sorry for him, so I made him a semi-villain. This worked in this instance.
Do you (or rather, have you ever . . .) change the names of your characters midstream?
I've done this maybe a time or two. Okay, many a time. In fact, the character in a project currently in editing mode has had four (yes, four) different names over the various editing phases of the project. Hey, I'm fickle at times. As the character evolved (yes, even the character changed somewhat during the writing process), so did his name. Sometimes, a name that seems so right in the beginning, isn't so right at the end. Kind of like my friend who had the perfect name picked out for her baby until the baby was born and she just didn't look like a Brittany, she looked like a Lucy. Go figure. That's how I sometimes feel about my characters. Tim may sound like the perfect name in the beginning, but Bastian might sound like a better name toward the end. There are characters, however, whose names never change.
Okay, now it's your turn, dear readers, to answer the above questions! Have fun!
Oh, and check out this link about some interesting information on POV!