A friend of mine recently wrote a hilarious post about how coming up with a character is not unlike birthing a child.
Not having ever given birth to a demi-human, myself, I was forced to come up with the following alternative description:
Writing a book is like playing fantasy football; only instead of having to choose from existing players with pre-set handicaps and talents, you have to start from the beginning and painstakingly create each one out of the primordial muck (which we all know is partially made up of ex-boyfriends and former classmates and character traits you either love or hate about your family members, with a dash of your favorite literature thrown in on top of some old Firefly reruns and the latest season of whatever show is on your DVR).
Once you’ve managed to pinch and prod your doughy masses of idealism and imperfection into something remotely resembling an actual human being, you then get to pit them against each other on the playing field of your mind. This is actually more of a Battle Royale / Fight to the Death, in which each character must prove their right to exist during a grueling elimination session where motivations are tried against plot devices and conflicting overall morals.
If they survive that process, what you’re left with is usually about 7-10 “dream team” characters who you hope will interact and perform in such a way that will make the audiences cheer for their successes, becoming fans instead of critics, and launch them all the way to the championship and then on to eternal glory.
Of course, as is the case with most fantasy sporting drafts, with a first draft there is always a heavy chance of upsets, last minute suspensions, rain delays, injuries, brain storm draughts, and of course, prima donna players that simply WILL NOT do what you want them to do.
So it’s probably not that much different than having a child. Except, you can always drop your players if they tick you off. Not sure you can do that with kids. I’ll ask…