HAVE YOU NOTICED when your character(s) have identifiable characteristics and traits, that when they are truly definitive as individuals (like the cast of super heroes above) they become so much more easy to write? – and thereby so does the story.
I have a character in mind from my current WIP: a sheriff (no super heroes). From his role there are characteristics automatically attributed to him which helps. Cops stereotypically act a certain way, they follow a code of conduct etc. Either way you cut the mustard (who does that for a hobby?) the character is entirely clear in my mind. His actions are clear, his movements are clear. In essence he seems like someone I might have met, maybe he is, perhaps an amalgam of people both real and fictional. I’ll never have the money to scientifically study where he came from within my mind.
The point I am making is that knowing your character(s) makes the dialogue so much easier to write and similarly their actions become individualised too which makes the story better, further adding to their unique place in the story. No reader likes mixing characters up, struggling to distinguish between X, Y and Z or reading about deadwood characters. Naturally there is limited scope within a novel, so maximising the main characters is essential. Tight narratives with fewer characters naturally tend to have strong characters but when there are numerous persons even the bit part players should have something attributable to them.
I’m not a fan of plotting out swathes of a book idea, and ultimately a so-so character can be enhanced with the consequent drafts if there is a depth lacking initially. Characters that feel real simply make the writing process easier no matter how they came about, something I hadn’t experienced until my current project, a minor epiphany, and something else to add to the writer’s toolbox in the future. The one danger is that a bit part character starts to roll across the storyline like a blanket of fog when perhaps there’s no room for them and the original story, the main players, become superseded, in which case it’s time to hit the brakes and reevaluate the writing. I’m not the most experienced book writer but one project that reached 70k words (my first attempted novel) ended up going in a direction I never planned because I didn’t keep the characters on a leash. I’ve never had a story become problematic due to plot, only uncontrolled characters.
Have you had similar issues/ resolutions?