Guest Post by Ian C. Esselmont
World building is a huge part of “fantasy” writing, but what about character building? Do you have a specific process you follow? A favorite character?
It’s true that in fantasy much is made of ‘world building.’ However, none of that achieves anything in fiction without character building. Rich histories, political intricacies, etc, none of this compels like character. For me, there’s no particular process in establishing or filling out a character. It pretty much takes care of itself. I usually have particular points of view I want to follow to ‘show’ certain plot lines. When I start the point of view, that character, it either takes off and comes alive or it doesn’t, and I drop it and try again. The best moments come when I’m surprised by what is supposed to be a minor character and that man or woman comes alive and takes over — that’s when I know to run with that character and change all the plans I might’ve had. It’s really rewarding as a writer when that happens. Nait, from Return of the Crimson Guard, is one example of this. He was supposed to be more of a ‘fly on the wall’ point of view on the battle, but refused to be subordinate and just took over. I went with it and out of that came a wonderful demonstration of how ‘legendary’ squads or ‘personalities’ in any military or other organization, might emerge.