Howard Andrew Jones is one of my favorite colleagues. A gentleman and a scholar, he shares my fondness for the pulps and the work of Roger Zelazny, among other things. He’s also been making good posts on writing recently.
In his latest, Howard addresses character creation. He emphasizes the point that too much description can muddy the reader’s perception of a character. I have been guilty of larding on too much detail on some characters, so I value a reminder like this one.
Howard presents a good, brief checklist for character creation. While I don’t use one, I do go through a similar mental process when developing new characters. Consider using some or all of Howard’s suggestions when creating your own characters.
The most important line, I think, is “What does this character want?” If you keep that answer in mind throughout your outlining or composing, you won’t often go wrong with that character.