Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Your Characters Speak to You

I used to think I was a bit crazy.

I'd be working on my short story, my novel, when all of a sudden the character would start telling me stuff.

"I wouldn't say that."
 
"Don't put me in that situation yet."

Photo by Matthew Kenwrick, courtesy of Flickr
"Here's the real story."

And I would stop and listen to what they had to say and write it down.

Now, you may think listening to your character as if he or she is a real person is a bit off the beaten track, but if you're a writer you may have already discovered that when your characters start speaking to you, that's when you really have something.

Photo by Paul Stevenson, courtesy of Flickr
Being in tune to who your characters are and what they want in life, for good or evil, will keep the honesty your want in your work. When your readers read what you have written your words will not only make sense to them, they will consider your characters 'real.'


Photo by Matthew Kenwrick, courtesy of Flickr
Not some paper copy form, but a 3-dimensional being with his or her own thoughts, feelings, wants, needs and direction. Whether you like your characters choices or not, revealing who they are (rather than protecting them because you don't like what they are choosing) will create an opportunity for you as well as your readers to really learn something.
In real life, as in the real life you want to create for your characters, life is made for learning and growth. Do you have to experience all of it personally yourself--especially the dark side--to understand what works and what doesn't?

Nope.

All you need to do is listen in and write it down.

Kathryn
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