Please welcome new author Peter Perrin who tells us how he creates his characters…
The first thing I should say about how I create my characters is that this is all very new to me and I’m not sure my method will work for everybody. It is all new because I only had my first novel, Grace’s Turmoil, published in December 2017. It remains to be seen whether readers find my characters interesting and believable. If they do, then hopefully my imagination and my methodology will be on the right track.
Obviously before I can create any character I need to have an idea of the theme of the book and its location. For me that is the easy part as I write seasoned romances where the heroines and heroes are all aged over sixty and live in a retirement village in England.
So, I start with a minimum age for most of the characters which immediately eliminates some physical attributes and descriptions, without typecasting anybody. Allied with that I do some research on names that are appropriate for the characters I’m creating; their era, where they come from, their background, their ages etc. I decide the sort of personality I want the two main characters to have and identify what astrological sign will fit those personalities. That gives me a timespan in which their date of birth must fall (e.g. March 21 to April 19). It also gives me a starting point for potential compatibilities and conflicts between them, as well as their main characteristics (such as romantic, confident, blunt etc).
Then I create a character profile for the hero and one for the heroine, taking their star sign characteristics into consideration. Effectively what I do is create a life history for each of them, from where/when they were born to the present date. This includes a physical description, key details from their childhood and career, and family information. I include anything I can think of from their past that could impact on and influence their attitude to life and to members of the opposite sex. It is fascinating that as I try to create a character who feels real to me, so he/she develops before my eyes and their profile changes. I particularly strive to identify/create incidents or problems that could cause conflict in the story.
Once I’ve done the profile for one main character I do one for the other. But as this comes into shape, so I look for ways to not only make it compatible with the other character but also for ways for conflict (internal and external) to be created.
Then I undertake a character question and answer interview with each of the main characters, which matches the star sign characteristics and the profile, and expands on it. It will cover such questions as, ‘What hopes and ambitions do you have?’ ‘How are your relationships with women?’ and ‘How would you describe your personality?’
As the book develops I use all the information I have already got and weave that into the story. But as the story evolves it will change and I have to continually update the profiles and Q&A and ensure the update information is what gets used in the rest of the book.
Hopefully this blog post will give people who struggle to create characters some ideas as to how they might go about it.
Peter Perrin writes sweet, seasoned romances involving larger-than-life mature characters who will make you rethink your views on older people in a positive way. His characters are mature in age but not necessarily in their behaviour. They may not be in the first flush of youth but that doesn’t stop some of them acting like hormonal teenagers.
Peter was born in Romford, in the county of Essex, near London, England. For nearly twenty years he has lived with his wife of almost forty years in a quiet suburb of Swindon, in the county of Wiltshire, in England. He is a father and grandfather.
He is a former member of The Royal Air Force who has served in the UK, and in Madagascar, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. He was also stationed for two years in Aden—which nowadays is part of Yemen.
After almost fifteen-years’ service in The Royal Air Force Peter worked in Engineering, Quality Control, and Procurement Management, not to mention myriad smaller jobs in between those careers.
Now retired Peter’s interests are Writing, Carp Fishing, and (despite being in his early seventies) PC and PlayStation games.
His favourite quote is “Youth passes, but with luck, immaturity can last a lifetime.”
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