It's true. When I don't behave myself by society's standards, I AM a character! But this post is more about my struggle with creating believable fictional characters.
So this is what I do. As a story appears in my brain, I jot down the storyline and then the characters as they “arrive”. As quick as I can, I pull out my complex character building sheets and form written opinions on who I think my characters should be. I write fast and furious with details. After the story is written (draft after draft), it becomes clear that I (often) don’t know my characters at all. The main one(s) especially. By this time, the story is plotted around some of those character traits. It's like they resent my telling them who they should become. It's like having teenagers in the house again.
Sometimes I will try simpler character sheets, which I prefer, but they seem too simple even for short stories. They often lack.
THEN I read somewhere that writers don't need to tell the reader everything about the characters and setting. Readers want to form some of their own imagery regarding the setting and characters. To confuse myself even more, I read reviews of books to see what the reader wants. Some reader/reviewers state that the characters are not developed enough and other reviewers (same book) say the characters jumped off pages.
Do you see my dilemma? Human people are causing me anxiety with their mixed messages and so are my pretend people.