Sunday, November 7, 2010

Characters Popping Up Everywhere


Our new blog chain question started off with Abby who asked:

Where do your characters come from? And once they've been introduced to you, how do you get to know them?

For me everything starts with character. My characters tell me what the plot will be, where the story will be set, and even what genre I'll be writing in.

I'm not really sure where these characters come from - I just start writing and there they are. And to know them better, I simply keep writing. And as I write even more characters emerge.

I actually struggle with a perpetual character overpopulation problem. Minor characters - like a waitress or a next door neighbor - meant to have one line, get greedy. They're not content with merely bringing more coffee or asking about their missing dog. No, they have to become complicated people with their own thoughts and problems. And they want to talk about these problems, and make the main character care about these problems.

Sometimes I let them. Hey, sometimes it works out and the waitress is suddenly the main character's best friend. Sometimes though, it's just a distraction. A tangent that leads nowhere and means nothing except more words on the page. That's when it's time to kill the next door neighbor. Their missing dog probably gets whacked too. Writing can be a bloody business.

And that's pretty much it from me, but don't forget there is more blog chain goodness out there! You can find Shannon's post from yesterday here, and then go look for Sandra's blog post after that!

9 comments:

  1. That's when it's time to kill the next door neighbor. Their missing dog probably gets whacked too. Writing can be a bloody business.

    Absolutely LOVE that line! If the minor characters get too bigheaded, bring them down! :)

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  2. I like the photo; characters can sometimes sprout like dandelions, can't they? ;)

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  3. LOL, I agree with Michelle. That's an awesome line. It's fun though, discovering and building characters along the way. Nice post.

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  4. I love your voice! I was laughing. Nicely put!

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  5. Do you let everybody talk in your first draft and decide who stays in your second?

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  6. oooo I have an over population problem too! So I went in and axed almost all my secondary characters and then had a crit partner tell me there weren't enough background characters....so I may need to repopulate a bit LOL

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  7. Minor characters - like a waitress or a next door neighbor - meant to have one line, get greedy. They're not content with merely bringing more coffee or asking about their missing dog. No, they have to become complicated people with their own thoughts and problems. And they want to talk about these problems, and make the main character care about these problems.

    I've had this problem! I've actually had some of the best characters develop from the overpopulation.

    I guess sometimes you just gotta go with it, huh?

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  8. "perpetual character overpopulation problem"--love this!!!! I so agree!

    Great post! :D

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  9. Some of my favorite characters are the minor ones. Luna Lovegood anyone? I thought she stole the show in OOotP. Also, your last line is gold.

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