Monday, 23 May 2011

It Just Happens!

Isn't it amazing?
By which I mean writing, of course. :)
It's truly magical, which is something I guess I'd forgotten. Halfway torn between editing my old story and writing a new WIP, I'm rediscovering the love for both worlds. Like, for example, how you can still discover new things about your characters even during edits.
That's exciting, right?
Well, mostly. Sometimes it can result in an unlovely amount of rewriting. But, then again, sometimes that's fun. It all comes down to character.

Do you know your characters before you start writing? Likes, dislikes, habits, quirks? Or do they just happen as you write? Every once in awhile, does a character come out of nowhere and say, "Here I am! Totally unplanned! Oh, by the way, I'm a main character. Sorry I didn't let you know before, but you know how it is. Nice to meet you!"
To which the only response is, "Likewise, I'm sure."

I think I've suffered from all three. For example:

Theyrin: I knew this guy from the get-go. I had a character sheet, I knew his moral center, I knew his whole life story. Yes, some things developed as I wrote, but for the most part, I knew exactly what he was going to say and do.

Evyn: This girl was a bit more problematic, and a lot more fun. (Not that I don't adore you Theyrin - you know I do!) Like Theyrin, I knew her history - sort of. I knew she'd run away from a courtly upbringing at ten, I knew she was an orphan, I knew she was tough and sweet and snarky but ultimately compassionate. But she showed me up. "Court? Yes. Home country? Wrong." All right... different upbringing. I can handle that. "Snarky? I... guess..." and a whole new softer side was revealed (plenty of snark remained, fear not). "As far as habits go, I have this whole bite my lip thing... only when I'm nervous or thinking." Okay... "Oh, or shy." Shy? "Yeah, sometimes I'm shy."

Go figure.

Rydan: I had no plan for Rydan. I didn't even mean for him to have a name. It didn't start out as Rydan, but what it was... *shrug* I can't remember. He was supposed to be an extra, he was supposed to hand the captain a box and move on with life. Four paragraphs in, however, he turned sapphire eyes toward me and winked. "You're not getting rid of me that easily."
Well... drat. Rewrites, here I come.
(P.S. Rydan's one of my favorites. He's so adorable!)

What about you? Any characters that behave the way you want them too? Any characters who don't? :)



Lisa Gail Green said...

Ha! It's so true!! I tend to think of my characters as people that exist, I just have to get to know them while writing. And surprise main characters? Oh yeah. That's happened to me more than once. I'm a pantser.

Phil Hall said...

I knew my characters and story as complete and finished when I started writing page one. There were some small surprises in there, but they were minutia in comparison to how they were fully formed in my head.

L.G.Smith said...

I think it's a good sign if you keep discovering new things about your characters during edits. It means you're still thinking deeply about them, and the added knowledge makes them that much more well-rounded. I love it when that happens. :)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

It's great when magic happens. Good for you in finding it.:)

For me, magic happens when I've done a lot of research, characterization, and plotting. Then magic takes place as the story unfolds.

Janet Johnson said...

I definitely have characters show up who weren't planned in the least, and then suddenly they're super important. But those are always the funnest ones, so I forgive them their secrets.

So yes, I know all about those rewrites. :)

Christina Lee said...

I am always SO amazed when something just comes out and writes itself-totally amazing!

D. U. Okonkwo said...

Ha Ha - great post, and love the picture. We have to imagine our characters as real people, it's only then that we can make them three international with real problems and real issues.

Talli Roland said...

I get to know my characters as I write. I know enough about them to begin with, and then learn more as I go along!