Characters: When They Won’t Leave You Alone…

15 Mar

Picture this: You’re driving to work in your car, sitting on your sofa flipping through the channels on your television, or surfing the internet.  Suddenly, a character trait pops into your mind.  All it might be is a good sense of humor, but it grows into a character.  And then you’re swerving out of the way to avoid a car, you’ve left the television on a soap opera to grab your laptop, or you’ve hastily opened a Word document to type up a description.

You close the Word document.  You leave it be, but it’s not that simple.  The character that you thought up yesterday is keeping you up at night now.  It pops up whenever you have a second to ponder.  The more you try to put it out of your head the more it refuses to budge.  Even though it’s driving you crazy, this is a wonderful thing that doesn’t happen every day.

It might seem obvious, but the only way to get the character out of your head is to write his/her story.  Oh, you don’t have a plot?  Write the story anyways.  If the character won’t leave you alone, there’s got to be a story that needs telling.  Just because you don’t know what it is yet doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.  You’re just the silly author.  You think the story is yours?  Think again.  Your story belongs to your character.  You simply write it down.

If you start to write your character’s story, a plot will develop.  When you’ve gotten several thousand words into the story and you still don’t see a plot, try rereading what you’ve written– it might have been staring you in the face.  If you still can’t find the plot that goes with your character, have someone else, someone you trust, read it.  Maybe they’ll be able to see what you couldn’t.  If this still fails to uproot a possible plot, write a little more to try to fish it out of the muck in your brain.  It could be that you just started at the wrong point in your characters life.

Just to let you know, if anyone has a topic they would like me to elaborate on or write a post about, I’d be very willing to do so.

Writing for my characters,
Katarina Madden

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Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Characters


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