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I’m impatient. As soon as a new idea strikes me, I can’t wait to get started. I have to write the story down immediately. Now! Before it disappears on the wind.

But it is in that rushing that I flounder. Take my new project for instance. I have a good solid start on the first draft – I have the story all worked out in my head and the first five chapters poured onto the page with relative ease. However, I’m beginning to stall, and here’s why: I need to take the time to know my characters so that I can render them onto the page in a way that allows my readers see them the way I do in my head. I need to consider what it is that I know about them – who they are, why they are. It is not enough for me to know what they look like and what motivates them in a superficial way that ties in with my plot. I need to think more about them than that. I need to think about what they want, what they need and what they believe they want and need. I need to consider why they are who they are and why they behave, react and think the way they do. I need to stop having them do what I would do in each situation – they are not me.

Character sketches are a good place to start but I find that I get to know my characters better when I turn my subconscious loose during a walk with my dog or while looking out the window on the train. It is during these times that my characters tell me who they are – when the ghost of personality, of motivation, of action, of character, solidifies and makes itself known.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 6th, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
I like your character rambling process. I'm going to give it a go on the train in to work tomorrow and see what they have to say.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 10th, 2013 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I tried this on Monday and was surprised by how much one of the minor characters that I was considering cutting had to say. And he mentioned some stuff I had no idea about.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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