This article was originally posted in September 2018.
When I started writing a few years back, I found myself thinking, pondering on a few questions many times, sitting in front of my computer with a blank, erased mind.
I had a few characters I wanted to create. I needed to make them stand out, be special and unique and different from all others.
For example, my main character is Pia the Pinena Fairy. She is a pre-teen fairy. I wanted her to have many adventures in my stories. I knew readers would like her, a unique, special fairy with many traits and qualities.
But there was a problem. What would she look like? What traits would she have?
Should I make Pia sassy?
Should I make her... look different?
When I first started writing, I wanted Pia to… well, stand out from all other characters. Would that mean she should be louder? Blurt out her feelings?
Make a scene where Pia loudly burps or does something to attract attention?
I didn’t know what to do. I didn't think burping or being a gossipy attention-magnet would help.
I was stuck.
After thinking it over for a while, an idea popped into my mind.
I knew myself well, in fact, better than anything else.
So I decided to base Pia off myself to get a solid start. I tried and experimented.
I started with a few traits.
Humor. Friendship. Thoughtful. Shy. I added onto the traits I took from myself. I even mixed the traits together, and came up with a better Pia. I made Pia bolder, braver, and added qualities and traits like cheer, and made Pia quick and clever so she could help her friends on their many travels and adventures. I also asked my friends for advice and looked for feedback. Finally, I finished. This was a whole new Pia, I knew readers and my friends would like.
Friends? Friends! A second idea beaned me in the head.
I have many great friends with a variety of great personalities. I could use these in my other story characters to come! I took out each of my friend’s best traits and placed them into my characters. In this way I found out my characters seemed alive and moving in the pages of my books.
I had many characters now, all with great, unique personality traits.
For example, in my book Saving Maui, I have a nice pixie character named Buttercup who always cheers up others when they’re feeling down, and a loyal and protective character named Olivia. Even more, I have Marissa, who is a kind, shy mermaid.
After making all these characters, I felt accomplished.
My wonderful characters would each contribute to the story and join Pia and her friends on all their adventures
My wonderful characters would each contribute to the story and join Pia and her friends on all their adventures.
I realized that I didn't make Pia from thin air. I had inspiration. My readers, my friends, and the people around me were the source of my inspiration.
So... where will your inspiration come from?