Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Planted: Characters

Lots of writing blogs, and articles, and books tell us how to develop a character. They tell about one-dimensional versus two-dimensional characters. They tell us what different traits mean, if the character has a wide smile, then they are friendly. There are lists upon lists, and questionnaires, and personality tests that you can fill out for days. All designed to help the writer get into the mind of an imaginary person, and sprinkle the best and most intriguing parts of them onto the page, or screen.

And, I've come to believe that almost all of it is useless, or practically useless, in truly developing a character, in creating a person that people can care about, out of thin air.

I finally realized that my mindset needed to be that these people aren't interesting because I'm writing about them. I'm writing about them because they are interesting.

When I approached it from a standpoint of essentially reporting on fascinating people, I was able to create a much more dynamic character. (At least, I hope you will one day find them to be dynamic!)

There's a girl, Lily, whom I hope you will love.

There's a boy, Luke, whom I hope will make you swoon.

There's Terese, whom I hope you will love to hate.

But, the good news is that it's fun! When you think about that space in your story, that space that can only be filled with another person, and you finally get that vibe that tells you, "Yes... yes, this is going to work!" It's amazing! It makes writing fun to see that character come to life right in front of you. It's exhilarating when the character's story falls into place, in just the right way.

As you can imagine, I'm working on a character right now! I had been thinking about Luke's father, who is he? Where is he? Does he have a place in the story? And, last night inspiration struck, and I love it! (His name is Whitman!)