My Writing Process: Brainstorming Characters

It’s a short post today.

When I sit down to come up with a new story, one of the first things I think about besides a contest or collection’s theme, or the overall genre elements and interesting ideas I want to explore and include, is the characters. For me it boils down to, not what the main character cares about most, but who. Ultimately, I think we are all motivated to do the things we do in life because of the people in our lives that we care about (or even dislike or fear) the most. We feel most threatened when our loved ones are threatened, and most distracted, sad, or frustrated when they are hurting, or when they are absent or don’t return our affections. Orienting my characters’ main plot objectives around the people they care about most has become a valuable tool that has helped me generate dynamic characters. These characters may appear to be very concerned with one particular goal on the surface, but they are ultimately motivated to do what they do (including some really bizarre things) because of their relationships.