I've spent the last three or so weeks finishing up my planning for "The Crystal Tree", and while I've been planning, I've also been thinking about what strikes me about some of the books that I've read recently and have really, really liked.
The book that struck me the most was The Help by Katherine Stockett. I read the whole book within a few days, and by the time I'd read the last page there was just one thing going through my mind. 'I wish I could write characters like hers. I wish I could write such deep, individual characters.'
I have found that the characters I like best are the ones that have depth. I like the ones that you can feel have a story away from the pages, a life that has been lived outside of the confines of the story. I like deep, well thought out characters who feel like they have a past.
And thinking about this made me think harder about all my characters, not just the main characters. I wanted to know, what were their stories? What had happened to them to make them the way they are now? Why does the noble girl bully the other students? What made the villain choose his course? What were they like as children?
Thinking about these kinds of questions has really helped me build a better picture of my characters. Before, my villain was just a bad guy who wanted revenge. Thinking about his past showed me that he never felt that he was good enough, and that he made bad choices to try and prove that he was good enough. He was a deeper character, and, I think, a better one for it.
Despite the time it took to work out the histories of my characters, I hope that my book will be all the better for it. Because if I love to read about deep characters then I should definitely write them. Because I'm sure that there are other people who like well thought out characters too.