Thursday, May 10, 2012

What is that character doing?

I learned long ago that characters come on our writing page in their own little worlds, bee-bopping along without a care in the world, especially for us and our needs.

The characters of the imagined novel are unaware you are writing about them.

Does that surprise you? It shouldn't. And if it does, maybe that is why your characters don't work from your imagination to the page. Have you ever had a problem with a character behaving? That's because he or she doesn't know you are writing about them. In the character's mind, they are just living their life, and working through their trials and tribulations. As an author, it is our job to follow them around, notebook in hand, and write what we see them doing. The catch is, don't let them see YOU.

When a reader can follow the character around his or her world and not see YOU in the peripheral, you have done your job well. It's not an easy task. The people of our story are pretty sharp. If they see you peering in on them through the window of the place where they are lunching with a mystery person, they very well may escape through the back door. Or even worse, the mystery person will and you will learn nothing from either.

So, the next time you sit down to create a good scene with that paper person you have brought up from the creative side of your brain, give them a lot of leeway. Stay on their heels, but not too closely.

Happy Thursday, Murderers.

1 comment:

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Kim, this is wonderful! And oh so true! My characters definitely do not listen to me, they drag me along on tangents I never anticipated all the time, LOL! Have a great weekend!