Are My Characters Ghosts?


I am so proud of myself! Over the past two weeks I have completed some crucial chapters, and am ready to move on to the next sequence in the plot! Confetti! Counfetti! Con – wait, does this part make sense?

I have a terrible habit of noticing flaws in my own writing halfway through a story, which throws me into a quandary about whether I should take some time to go back and fix the problem, or just move on and get’er done? Part of my problem was the stretch of slothful inaction where I forgot some of the minor character’s names, and a bit of where some of the more minor foreshadowing was going. Ooops.

While I dug through my notebook to see if I had taken the time to write it down somewhere before my slump, I started to wonder, and then to worry, if my characters were properly fleshed out at this stage. I am a character-driven writer (THEY are the reason I write a story), and while you’d think that would mean that my characters are always well developed in the story, that’s not always the case. A lot of the details of a character’s life or personality aren’t written directly into the text; a good writer would let the reader catch glimpses of those aspects in action, in good subtext. I love subtlety, but often to the point where they are so subtle my readers miss them and are then confused, or there isn’t enough subtext for them to understand in the first place. I may know all the pertinent details of my character’s life, but because I know, I sometimes forget that my reader doesn’t. I’ve given them the outline of the person, but no believeable flesh.

Aaah! It’s a ghost!

So I am now off to poke all my characters like a parapsychologist, making sure they’re all real.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Haley Whitehall (@HaleyWhitehall)
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 23:27:47

    Congratulations, Jennifer! Bask in the feeling that comes with such progress.

    I had never thought of characters being ghosts before. But it is true, sometimes characters are so one dimensional they are like ghosts. Great post.


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