Tuesday, June 1, 2010

a curious question

does anyone ask questions without being curious?

regardless. i have a question.

how do you get to know your characters? when the idea for a story begins to unravel in your head, you begin to imagine what kinds of people inhabit your imaginary world, living out the fascinating sequence of events...characters are necessary. no story would exist without them (whether they be rabbits, elves, or fish).

but how do you get to know your charcters REALLY WELL? like, to the point:

where you think, "Oh, Ryan never would have done that--he's much too cautious," or "Lydia, what are you doing?? Can't you see that you're supposed to be doing THIS. You are so stubborn!!"

where they begin to take the story out of your hands and begin to carve their own little paths (characters REALLY DO have their own minds. non-writers laugh at me when i say this, but it's TRUE)

do you perhaps write up a list of the character's life history, likes and dislikes, catch phrases and personality?

i like to imagine a random situation that may never even occur in the story. then, i place the character in that situation and let them figure out how they want to react. it helps me round out the character before i've started the story and helps prevent unwelcome surprises later on.

what do you do?
perhaps you do not even know what i am talking about???


  1. I have little worksheets that I do for my main characters and sometimes secondary characters too. It has tons of info on it. If I don't get it all filled out at first, sometimes I can fill in bits later.

  2. awesome! i wish i had the discipline to do that! it's easier for me to just plunge into a scene, though : )
    kudos to you!


    Usually my characters take me places and show me who they are through their actions. I just kind of have a sense about who they are.

    I've tried to do character worksheets (usually I only get about 1/2way thru) they can help organize my thoughts about the characters, but seriously mostly the characters just are who they are. I can hear their dialect and dialogue and see their next move.

    That's why I looooovvveeee writing!!

  4. hahah omg i totally know what you mean! but i'm pretty much the opposite of all things "outliner" and so i simply let my characters tell the story. they put themselves in situations i hadn't anticipated and by doing so, reveal much more about themselves than i would've known.

    i've (i kid you not) yelled things at my computer like, "OMG I DIDN'T KNOW YOUR MOTHER WAS DEAD!!!"


    i learn right along with everyone else.


  5. Molly--YES, i have the same problem with worksheets!!! they just don't..work..for me. isn't it amazingly fun to just see how the characters develop themselves? who knew writing could be so fun??? : )

    Tahereh--i try to outline. but it only works if i make it into a brainstorm sessions. it must help somewhat, though, because i've never Yelled at my characters ; P
    LOL, that's funny. did you by any chance have coffee or a cupcake before this happened??

    i'm glad to hear i'm not the only crazy writer!! <333333


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