Novel Quest: The Importance of Characters!
When creating any story, the most important thing to me are my characters. Great dialogue is key too, but that is another post. A great character can pull you into a story, making the journey a wonderful experience. They drive the story. You can write tons of battle scenes, create an elaborate plot, and threaten the world, but without wonderful characters, you're screwed.
The creation of great characters is an individual thing for most writers. My characters, like my tales, are fully developed entities with a soundtrack and wardrobe detail. Often when writing a scene after doing painstaking outlines and chapter setups, a minor character will spring to life and demand to be in the tale. This happened to me with my Familiar's Tale series. Both Darcus and Princess Opaline were drafted as minor characters, but they became integral to the story. It worked.
With my new novel in progress, The Bastard Sorceress, Sabine Fable grew to full life once I had her name. I struggled a bit with a new original story and the challenge of doing a novel from her point of view-until I had her name. I love names. I have been complimented on the names I have given my characters. Names shout volumes about a character. For this lead heroine, I wanted an individual, someone scrappy, knocked down by life but still proud and fighting. Once I had this, she blossomed into a fully formed character with a vibrant personality and her dialogue flies off the page. I imagined how she looked, what she liked to eat, her hair, eyes, all of it.When creating, play with names, research the net and name books, imagine their faces, how they dress, and write down their background. A good character has a full bio.
So pay attention to developing your characters. They are the core of your tale.