Q: From where you do you draw inspiration for your characters?
A: It really depends on the character and the story, but I believe I can narrow it down to three sources. Some characters are based on, or are composites of, people I know. With others the characterization comes from mе, although in such cases I try to be very careful not to reduce them to mouthpieces for my own opinions or ideas: perhaps infuse the character with a trait of my own personality, make them react like I would in a similar situation, but then I’d veer right off, forcing our personalities to diverge. (Side-note: I especially enjoy writing in the first person about characters decidedly unlike myself.) The third situation is when another work of fiction affects me to the point where I think up characters in response, as if saying, “The kind of characters I like to read about would never do that.”
All that said, most of the time I feel like characterization just happens spontaneously, right then and there, when I’m writing the scene, or perhaps during the long walks beforehand. I may start off with an idea of what a character is broadly about, but the Aha! moments — when you truly understand why your character acted the way they did — come much later.
Damien Krsteski’s story “Lake Oreyd” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 24 March 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.