HOW TO DEVELOP A CHARACTER WITH THE STORY RATHER THAN BEFORE
I’m straying away from the week’s theme a bit, but who cares? As long as we cover some ground, that’s all that matters. I’ve been reading a lot about character development. How I find time to read anything is beyond me, but it happens. It happens when I’m on the bus or when I’m walking or when I’m on my lunch break. I’m either reading or I’m writing.
Get a life, right?
Anyway, I’ve delved into character creation a bit more, and I read an interesting practice. Many writers suggest that whenever we are creating a character, there are some critical points that we have to make.
Some common suggestions have to do with spending a week and creating a dossier on your character. We are encouraged to write out likes and dislikes, fears and failures, and dreams and ambitions.
This works for some, but it doesn’t work for me. After reading James Scott Bell, he validated a practice that I thought was unique to me. I can certainly say that I’m glad it’s not unique to me because that means that I haven’t lost my mind when it comes to this whole writing thing.
I am in the habit of getting to know my characters as the story unfolds. My characters, who have elaborate backstories, reveal their lives to me and to the other characters as the plot dictates.
It’s been unique to read the history and details of characters whom I have come to admire, whether good or bad. The bad pasts have compelled me to appreciate my characters as much as the good pasts.
This organic character development has its difficulties, as I have had to change a few timelines here and there, but ultimately, the finished story is much more intriguing. There’s one character whom I wanted to dictate her actions as the writer, but I absolutely could not force her to do what I wanted her to do.
What I’ve realized is that this form of organic writing has given the characters more of a voice in determining their own destinies, which has made for more of a character-driven story.
For the record, I’m not degrading the planning method. I’m simply saying what works for me. Give it a try and see if it gives you the same freedom.