Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No, honey, it's table for THREE!!

....a seat for me, you, and of course my Main Character!  We can't leave her out.  She already feels isolated enough!

Writers, how well do you know your characters?

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading this post about getting to know your characters by Scott Tracey, a YA Scifi writer, and found that I totally identified.

Full disclosure here: I spend more time with my characters than I do with my best friends.  When I'm driving to work, I think about them.  When I'm at work, I think about them.  (Don't tell!)  When I'm making and eating dinner, I think about them.  When I'm writing...when I'm showering...when I'm watching stupid TV...when I'm reading...

Honestly, sometimes I wish I could get rid of them!  Not all of us get along so well. :)

But some of them, I have to admit, I even wish they were real.  Of course that's normal.  (please don't say otherwise!)  I mean, if I set out to write a really likeable, wonderful character, of course that character is going to be the most likeable to me.  I made her, so I poured everything that I think makes someone likeable into her.

Really, though, when you spend anywhere from several months to several years with your characters, you're bound to have a relationship with them.  If I spent that much time, even with someone I hated, we would still know quite a bit about each other.

This brings me to one of my favourite quotes about writing:

"Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing."
— Margaret Chittenden

It's scarily true.  I remember when I first started my book (I'm a pantser, fyi), I went out to dinner with my boyfriend and all I did was complain about what my characters were doing.  While he rolled his eyes, I went on and on, "I mean, I thought F was a GOOD guy, but then he turned around and did that?  Now I'm not so sure!  I can't wait to see how the others will react when they find out.  I hope E isn't too upset about it! ..."

Some people even write great amounts of side story about each character that never actually makes it into the book.  I am one of those people.  I don't do it for every character, but if someone is giving me a rough time, like I don't know how she'd react or why she reacts the way she does, I go back and write her back story and figure out who she is on a level that extends past the scope of the book.  (And, just so I don't feel like I'm wasting time, I tell myself that all of that will be released in a little companion anthology when people read and love my book...right?)

And, since this is a post about characters, I'll fill some of you in on little details about mine that won't make it into the book.  Here's the favourite ice cream flavor of some of my guys:

Elly: Pistachio or Neopolitan
Sam: Ben and Jerry's Half Baked all the way!  Mm gooey goodness
Lauren: chocolate...but I always get frozen yogurt.
Finley: dark chocolate with raspberry swirl
Push: Ice cream!?  I don't eat ice cream.

Do any of you do this?  How well do you know your characters?  Do yours, like mine, follow you around everywhere?  Tell me some little known fact about one of your characters that isn't/won't be in your book!


  1. Ben sings in the shower!!! Didn't he just get sooo much hotter? lol jk.

    My characters feel alive to me too...which is why I have so much trouble accepting that I should kill them off!

  2. OMG. As if Ben needed to get any hotter!!! Now I am beyond crushing. :)

    Also, why do I suddenly talk like I'm a Gossip Girl extra? hehe.

  3. Hahahaha! I would KILL to be a Gossip Girl extra if nothing more than to have the fab clothes. Of course I'm kidding...sort of. ;)

    I tend to listen to music and think of whether of not my MC would like the song. I also seem to know what types of clothes my characters would wear. It's a serious problem and we should all likely seek help!!!

  4. I do get to know my characters and then when I finish their story (story, novel,) I miss them. I think there's a little of the first MC I ever created in all of my MC's.


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