Where do they come from? How are they formulated? Who are they really?
Characters come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Some are created from observations of strangers on the street while others manifest themselves as a mishmash of traits of people we may be close to. Then there are the characters that randomly emerge in our minds. They seem to appear out of no where with no intent from the creator. These are the characters I love most.
They stare out from the recesses of the mind revealing who they are, and what they are about, through the stories they tell. Some are quiet and reserved; others are quick to make their presence known, flamboyant, and demanding. They pick fights with other characters. They challenge the norm choosing to walk paths vastly different from their counterparts. They wreak havoc on the order of life following their own rules.
From a writer’s perspective a combination of all of these lead to great story telling. Stories need characters who are consistent, dependable and somewhat predictable. These can be a source for readers to hold on to, relate to and sympathize with. It is the irrational characters who come into the story and offer a sense of adventure. They are the catalyst of change that move a story forward giving that straight line character the chance to see the world in a different light.
While the outcome is an opportunity for growth, it is up to the characters, their reactions, and what rings true to them that make their role in storytelling so important.