It’s Getting Crowded in Here…: Character Development 3

I wonder if having internal conversations with imaginary people almost all day long can be considered normal? If it isn’t, I’m claiming Writer’s Unblock (the inability to stop coming up with ideas). Creating characters is the part of writing that comes easiest to me; I enjoy forming them and giving them personalities and quirks and unusual lives. But once this part is over, what is to be done with all these people?

Depending on what your Idea was in beginning this process, there are several choices for the next step. If your inspiration for the story was a scene, then you proceed to mold your characters to fit that scene. If it was a particular time period or setting, then they have to be formed to fit that setting. But if your Idea was character based (as in, the idea for the story came from wanting to use a particular character), the next step is to organize a plot to fit the character.

Here is where you begin to combine other elements of the writing craft. For that scene-inspired tale, taking those characters and having them act out that scene in your mind may require you to make some… adjustments. Sometimes it’s the character who’s got to change (I guess he’ll be left handed then) and sometimes it’s the scene (maybe they’re be another person there to do that part). Don’t be afraid to change things around. It (hopefully) hasn’t been written in blood or stone yet.

Time period settings are a bit stickier, especially if you want an accurate depiction of the time. When doing period work, it’s always a good idea to look up the time and area you want to write about. Try to see what the culture was, and how manners were observed. Mankind really hasn’t changed that much: people get mad, fall in love, start wars, and have pointless arguments. Whether they elope in carriages, duel with swords, or go to the grocery store in a space ship simply depends on the setting. The characters will have the same emotions, but they will act on them in a different way. The idea of research may be daunting, but it’s well worth the effort if you want your tale to come off with a genuine feel.

For those who start out with a character (or cast), the next phase is finding a plot to fit them in. Are they characters who need a particular setting? Do they have their own problems which would result in a particular plot? Once you have an idea of where they would be the most comfortable, the next stage (for all three categories) is to start outlining a plot. And if you haven’t guessed… that will be my next topic to tackle!

By the way….
For anyone who’s read this up to now and thinks that this blog is a definitive description on how to write, please reconsider. There are as many ways of dragging information from your mind to paper as there is crayon colors, and everyone has their own preferences. If the end result is a word on paper, you’re on the right track.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wovenstrands
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 23:53:59

    I think you’re blog is amazing. I’m new to writing and I could use all the guiding I can get; keep ’em coming. Please, I would appreciate if you visited my blog and checked out my work. Constructive criticism is what I look forward to, so feel free to criticizes constructively 😉


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