I was reading a blog post the other day by a friend and fellow author, D. Krauss... here's the blog.
It's interesting because characters do just show up - but not for everyone. For him, for me, for our friend Jose and an awful lot of writers - characters require very little by the way of creation. We don't get to play God very often, because the characters are already waiting to introduce themselves. They're fully formed, they feel real, they tell us over time their stories.
It's kinda disappointing at times that I don't get to wave a magic wand and mutter words of creation... "You there blob of words. You will be a gorgeous hunk of a man and hang upon my every word."
That never happens.
I get characters who are who they need to be, who they have to be, who they always were.
Sounds like we're all nuts.
To a degree I think everyone is.
Sometimes I struggle with a character name but usually that's because I didn't like the name the character came with. No end of trouble ensues as I try to find one I like and inevitably I end up using the very name the character arrived with.
See, that's the thing. They're already to go. They are there for a purpose. we may not know the purpose, we may not like the purpose and these characters don't sit around waiting for our approval. They get stuck in and do whatever they need to do to forward the story.
In soundbyte (May 2013) there is a new character - and for quite a while I wondered if he was a one of the good guys or not. (I'm not telling you if he is or isn't.) He didn't tell me, I had to find out. I had to follow the story and understand his place in it. Which I did and it was worth it. He's interesting. He's interesting enough that he comes back in databyte. (Good or bad - you'll have to find out for yourselves when the time comes.)
databyte also contains a new character.
He was hard to get to know, he was harder still to understand. His name drove me nuts and yet I ended up reverting back to the name he came with. He drove me nuts. He wouldn't leave when it was time. Okay, to be clear... he wouldn't leave when I thought it was time. We didn't see eye to eye about him leaving or what his plan was for the longest time. (I'm still not a hundred per cent sure about him, but he was a helluva lot of fun at times.)
He could close down so I couldn't get in his head. (Not that I actually get in other characters heads, as I write first person from Ellie's POV - but I do like to know what's going on with other characters... and Ellie needs to be able to read them... but she couldn't either!)
He was harder for me to work with than Rowan ever was... and let's face it, he was tricky at times!
The thing with characters is - people strive to make them real. But for me, they are real. I don't need to make them that way, that's how they come. They're real enough to love, worry about, think about, have hope for... they exist.
Recently, someone who I met through 'A Writers Plot' told me she could see me in Ellie. She had just read killerbyte.
That really made me laugh - and I'm quite happy to have someone recognize me in Ellie. (Cos Ellie is freaking amazing.)
But you have to think about the context of how I know this person - via the workshop I hosted last year and will host again this year. And for this person, mostly via my notes and email as she was away for most of our meetings.
Mostly via notes and email. So written word rather than face-to-face like the rest of the group.
I don't think I'm very Ellie like at all in person. Although I do write how I speak and think, so, maybe over time we've merged. :)
Or she's inhabited my body (she's going to regret that - I'm older!) and hijacked me.
Jump on in here... let me know how you create characters or if you create characters...
I'm away for a week, so have fun playing while I'm gone... and remember The Admins ARE watching.