Plot usually comes first for me. And then the character that seems to fit best. Guess what?
At first, that character wears cliché like a toddler does food.
So this time around, I went out of my way to create a character that on paper would be the worst possible choice. What character would fail miserably for this story goal? And why? What character would absolutely not want to complete this story goal? And why? And then add personal stakes so they have to complete the story goal.
All in hopes that this will build in automatic inner and outer conflict. And add a bit of humor.
But another choice would be to create that perfect character for the role but burden him/her with a major flaw. A fear. A troublesome past. A physical handicap. An emotional handicap.
The danger in creating any character is going too far in either direction and ending up with a cartoon (which I’ve done). And as usual, the biggest challenge is the actual writing and making that character come alive on the page.
How do you create your characters? Do you tweak them to create more conflict? Or do your characters come first and then you build the plot around them?