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Blog Post 101!/Writing Characters

Bring out the creamcakes everyone! 101 posts on BookmarkedOne!

I realize celebrating no. 100 would have been more appropriate. Shame about that. I didn’t realize until after I’d posted it. And no. 100 turned out to be “Here’s to the Silent Void“…a great deal angstier (is that a word?) and sadder a post than I usually make.

Sorry about that. Writing has its slumps. And while I’d rather just make you smile, I’d rather be honest more. I firmly believe everyone should have a place (occasionally) to scream.

Anyway.

Today being 101, I’m going to cherish the occasion by telling you about my characters–and all the trouble I’m in this week.

I do realize, of course, that I write…unconventionally. It’s not exactly method acting, but there’s a lot of emotion that goes on. If I’m writing something from first person, I step inside that character as if I’m the one living the story. I feel what they feel.

As for other characters? Well, I pop them in the hood of my jacket and carry them around with me as I go about my day like a few plush dolls.

No, but seriously.

What’s the best way to get to know someone? Conversation. Dinner dates. Slumber parties. Sitting together at lunch.

That’s how I get to know the people I’m writing about. I walk down the street, half muddled in whatever story I’m writing and think, “Oh, xyz character would sit there, on that bench, because it’s shady and he likes to feel the chill.” And since I write fantasy, it can be a lot of fun. Watching them be baffled, you know.

I take personality quizzes as my characters sometimes. And laugh at how wrong the results often are. Because I know.

I know exactly what they’d eat for dessert. Their favorite pop culture icons. What they’d say to a snide comment. Preferred styles of music. I know J’s the best to watch scary movies with. V has the best taste in clothes. G is the type (after coffee) who will always drop everything to give you a crushing hug.

I know it all. Because I asked, and they told me. Nice as you please. Bagels in the bargain.

You thought this was a joke, didn’t you? I think I saved this image from the NaNoWriMo forums…great thanks to whoever the original and undetectable creator is.

Problem? None of this helps with plot.

And I mean at all. I sit down to write, and it goes something like this.

Me: “So what are we doing today? Dragon-hunting? How are your lives?”

Characters: *awkward silence*

Me: …guys?

Asking them what they’d do if they were here isn’t helpful. Because really, climbing 23 feet up a sycamore tree or setting someone’s kitchen on fire trying to make toffee is not plot. Not if you ask me.

Which leads us to now…

Jokingly, I said to a friend, “I feel like I need to just sit down my characters and have them do roleplay games. D&D. That kind of thing. Maybe then we’ll have some idea of plot.”

A word of warning, ye writers young, don’t do this. Not only does the friend want to read a story of it now…

J, one of the characters currently residing in the back of my head, appears to have overheard. Is now so excited about the idea as to be compared to a Golden Retriever puppy. Wants to know who else is coming. If we’re going dice shopping. Or minifigs. Appears not to care in the slightest that this was designed as an exercise and we still have no plot.

Well, maybe someday I’ll figure it out, right? At least I’ve got good company.

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2 responses to “Blog Post 101!/Writing Characters”

  1. I like your technique. It’s so much better than merely trying to imagine how they’d behave. Instead, taking them out to dinner would reveal so much more in much less time. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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