Where do characters come from? They don’t all jump out ready made, if they did there would likely be such similarity to them, they would be hard to distinguish one from the other – no, they evolve, every writer knows the process (even if it is not fully understandable), and this is the primary reason I love characters who go their own way and stand out – it’s their evolution happening fast.
This makes the journey an adventure for the writer as well as the reader. If a writer doesn’t have fun writing, they won’t write well or frequently. Often writer’s block will happen if a writer has spent too much time in one area, and staying in that place has become no longer fun.
Characterization is influenced by many things. As we have been talking about Va’el and Sevi, I will use them as examples.
Who the individual is counts. Va’el, for instance, wouldn’t be after a princely crown if he wasn’t the bastard son of a bastard son of an emperor. Take the “bastard” out of the equation, he would already have a crown, he would be prince by birthright. Take away the royal connection and a crown wouldn’t even be a consideration.
It’s the very fact that he’s caught between “should have” and “will never have” that he is so dissatisfied and determined to make his own fate. He knows what he wants. He’s so close to power and it might never be his.
That makes him insecure – and an obnoxious brat is what popped up when I introduced him, aged ten. It surprised me, but it fits, it makes him real.
Achieving recognition is crucial to Va’el. He might even make it – if he doesn’t push his luck and get knocked off first, that is.