Before I begin a long writing project (novelette onwards) I spend a good deal of time taking notes, most of which deal with plot lines, twists, and object detail. I enjoy creating new creatures and (hopefully) intriguing characters, but I don’t spend altogether too much time delving into what makes each character tick. While I have a solid understanding of each character, I do not typically write extensive notes on their past transgressions, etc.
Every once in a while, from one source or another, I hear that this is a grave mistake. This, of course, gets me thinking about whether I should force myself to spend more time on character development.
In the end it is probably neither good nor bad. Some of my favorite authors spent a chunk of their lives in character creation (I’m thinking Tolkien…) while others most certainly did not. And while I have a great appreciation for The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, I equally enjoy books with less thought out detail.
I am therefore lumping criticism about too little character background in the ‘to each his own’ pile, and declaring it something that does not hold any weight over a story’s worth.
How much time do you spend delving into the past of your characters? Do you agree or disagree with what I have said?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂