So. Two things have inspired me to write this post.
One: This post by sputnitsa. 'Tis a fascinating read.
Two: I was fixing the grammar in an online article that I wanted to print out and put into my "Resources" binder, and Word 2007 kept wanting me to change "who" to "that" in the context where "character" was the subject. Now, I almost never listen to Word's grammatical advice anyway, but it sure got me thinking. Why can't you call a character a "who?" What's wrong with it? Characters are people, too. I mean, they may not physically exist, but... they don't know that! Hehe.
I have a tendency to find characters that feel very real to me. It's not uncommon for a character to get into fight with me about what they want to do versus what I think they should do. Of course, they always win (except in the case of two particular characters who have lost the privilege to win seeing as how their freaking storyline keeps changing all over the place...).
Characters generally "appear" to me fully-fleshed. I mean, as fleshed out as I get them before writing them. I don't do much to "discover" characters before writing--I prefer discovering them as I write. I feel like I can't get a true feel of who they are except through actually writing.
It's a rare day when I have to really think about the sort of character I need. I'm really lucky like that, I think. I just wish I had the skill to make my readers feel the same way I do about my characters... le sigh.
However, naming characters often throws me for a loop.
I have a really bad habit of not seriously delving into a project unless all the main characters have their "right" names. One story I'm working on hasn't progressed much for this reason--I have the name for the male protagonist, but the female protagonist hasn't yet given me her name. She's tentatively taken the name "River," but it doesn't feel right.
This is also an issue in a sci-fi thing I'm working on at the moment. I just started writing it yesterday. I've got three character names so far, all of which came without a problem (although, unfortunately, one of the characters dies in the first scene...). The main antagonist has no name yet. It's very frustrating. It doesn't help that the nameset so far is a bit difficult to fit other names into... I've got Adella, Thalisyn (nicknamed Thalli), and Teryn. Adella's got the last name Kessyn. And I'm having a heckuva time finding a good antagonist name to fit in with that set...
In case anyone's wondering, it's Adella who dies. I cried when it happened. I really liked her....