Is another post I’ve read that is interesting. How do you know your character is done? While characterization is important, this question is rather irrelevant. And here’s why:
A character is never complete when a story is written. Is Talia a complete person? No, because she’s always growing. In the first book she’s very condescending towards humans and their immaturity. This comes from what’s happening during the story. Throw in the subplot about something in her past, and you see a character that’s grown.
Now, in the second novel she’s darker and bitter. This comes from something that happens in the first novel, and it carries over. Throw in three years to brood about it and you get a darker, grittier person.
At the start of the third, she’s more positive and somewhat happier because things in the second novel restore her faith in the universe.
And I’m not quite sure how the fourth novel will turn out because each story takes on a life of it’s own…I don’t plan them out.
What is she like? A warrior who has lived many lifetimes and seen things that most people never will. She still deals with the issues faced by an immortal also, which are many.
Now, how does this factor into my post? Here’s how: character’s need to be known by the writer, along with back story, but not all of it needs to be shown to a reader. In fact, everyone’s got a back story and most of its boring as Stephen King would say.
So, how do you work with your character? Well, he or she needs to be able to grow as a person in whatever direction their personality and life takes them. If the writer decides he or she needs to know every single thing about the character, and their life, then the character doesn’t have room to grow because the writer will control everything. This will stunt things completely.
The thing about characters is that they are like us. They need to be able to grow and react in the way that is natural to them, and if the writer takes that away, then they’ve killed the one thing that really makes a book special: who the story is about. Know what I mean?
Don’t try to know everything about your characters. Learn enough to know who they are where they’ve come from, but not enough to stunt their growth. That is when you know your character is complete enough to write.