This process is based from what works for my own personal manner of novel writing. This is not set in stone, and you are free to disagree with my viewpoint. I have no qualms if you don’t appreciate these ideas.
“Wait, you start by creating characters, and you build the story around them?”
Yes, such ideas seem treacherous, I know, but these beautiful beings of my own creation decide the story for me. I honestly have no choice but to start with my characters. When I first begin, I find something very peculiar about my manner of creating characters. Even though such behavior is never intended, I always have a theme running behind a certain group of them! I use a simple method to create my main hero and my main villain. It might be easier to understand if I showed you step by step.
First, I start with a singular concept. This concept could be anything, from snakes to air, from blood to roses. Today, I’ll start with something ridiculous that will probably make you think I am crazy for picking:
The color red.
“What? You can’t personify red, it’s a color!”
Watch me personify it, bitch. I’ll personify it twice!
The second step is to find the positive connotations with it, and the negative connotations.
Positive: Romantic, young, lively, eye catching, often associated with beauty, passion, energy, and is the color often combined with gold to show heroic costuming. Holds a fair amount of fire’s good associations. Is considered the most emotional color.
Negative: Is the color of anger, pain, and hate, is often considered a color of lust, the color of blood, when combined with black it looks evil, the darker shades are often associated with evil. Holds a fair amount of fire’s negative connotations.
So, let’s make a hero and a villain from the same source! The next step is pulling a few good traits from the associations and a few bad ones. Nobody appreciates an unbalanced character, am I correct?
Hero: Ruby Williams is a young woman from the bustling city of New York City in the United States. She is very energetic, romantic, and is passionate about everything she does. She has a particular love of flowers. She finds it difficult to keep calm in any situation, however, and has a temper that nobody wants to be on the receiving end of. She also happens to be a bit of a flirt, and is always lusty.
Villain: Rosalyn Jameson is a young woman from Philadelphia who recently moved to New York. She has suffered a lot during her lifetime thanks to her young abandonment. She is resentful toward others who are leading fulfilling lives, and is always livid when somebody is behaving in an affectionate manner toward their family. She is very beautiful, but is also a ticking time bomb of emotion.
That, dolls, is how I create characters. From there, they sort of add to themselves quirks that I write without noticing until I look back.