So I am coming to find that some of my most interesting characters start life a lot simpler. In my planning, these characters are often only props or tools for the protagonist to interact with. But after I start writing, they deepen into something more significant. The character profiles I have posted thus far on this blog are all of this type. As I think back on my writing in the past, I feel like this has always been the case for me.
As a short story writer by experience, I tend focus almost exclusively on the main character. What is the character arc? What is the conflict, the dilemma, and how does it relate to that character? Short stories tend to be very limited so they can become fixated on that one, or those two or three, leads. Understanding the plot, I then insert supporting characters to create conflict and momentum. I often don’t think about these characters too deeply. However, once the writing begins and I start toying with them, they tend to become more interesting.
I wonder if this is a common habit. How do you other writers build your characters? Do you do a lot of planning before you write? Or do you let things develop while you write? In general, how much to you plan and how much do you create while writing and revising?
I would appreciate any comments!