Character development in a story is not letting your hero or heroine wear a mask. Their personality shines through and the author is like a parent who gets to distinguish their children. The heroes and heroines may be caught up in war, blood, mud and impossible situations but it doesn’t stop the author from embracing them. Their growth is the allure that makes us follow them.
As a fledgling author, my resources comes in the form of books or e-books. There are too many at times and the numerous choices can cause a slight anxiety. There is just not enough time to comb through the haystacks and ascertain that you’ve found the right needle for the job. So far my writing coach have addressed the topic on the guild and has interviewed author who address this.
I have also canvassed several good books online, mainly in Amazon. Here are some books I have been eyeing: K.M. Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs, Characters & Viewpoints (Elements of Fiction Writing) by Orson Scott Card, and Characters, Emotions and Viewpoints by Nancy Kress. Another extremely good resource on the topic of Character building and development is the Writer’s Digest website.
My current heroine perplexed me. Her situation and struggles could happen to anybody I know: a relative, a close friend or even a new acquaintance, and even to me. The pain she’s going through pulsated within me. Her experience and action is recognizable. Then in the midst of watching my character go through the struggles, I realized she is nobody I know. She’s not a relative, or a close friend or any of my new acquaintance, nor me. She’s a unique individual with a different outlook of life. All I could do is write her as I witness her.
Afterwards it hit me. I finally realized why my heroine felt so familiar. I formulate or imagine stories when I was younger and there would be one or two characters that would populate the scene. My heroine was one of the minor character on another story. She may have been slightly younger or immature back then but it is definitely the same person. It made me wonder how the same person emerge in a totally different story? Is it a certain trend when I write or formulate story that I just noticed now?
This is similar to seeing actors portraying different characters onscreen. You end up looking for some kind of distinction that would separate one image to the other. Which image would pop up right away when I mention the actor Hugo Weaving? As Mr. Smith in Matrix or as Elrond in the Lord of the Rings? Having an actor-kind of character is what I don’t want to happen when I write stories. Will the same personality shine through but in a different setting? Is this character just putting on a mask and acting as another person?
In the end, I could only continue writing and worry about future character formation later. Perhaps, even take the time to read and research on this before starting another project. I have to go find all those needles in the haystacks.