"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not." -Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Mysterious Characters When Writing

Most writers when asked where the ideas for their main characters, the protagonist and antagonist, come from consistently answer they either are a spin on a family member, a close friend or most commonly a spin on themselves.  Others have even said the characters came to them in a dream.  How about you where do the ideas for your main characters come from?
If you are like most authors, you spend a great amount of time developing these characters.  Perhaps you create a character sketch or simply write down these characters’ characteristics.  Most authors delve inside their main character’s minds to understand what makes them tick, what they look like (do they wear glasses, have braces, a scar, red or brown hair, freckles, etc.), their strengths and weaknesses, sometimes even plotting out their history.
No matter where you get the ideas for your main characters you probably spend time developing other characters as well.  Unless the plot of your story is for the main characters to travel through an empty world I highly recommend this.  Then when you begin to write, all your well planned characters will suddenly appear on the screen as if the stroke of an artists’ brush magically made all their individual colors join together to reveal your story.
These are important techniques for any author, but what about those characters who suddenly appear out of nowhere?  What about you, do you ever have a character come to life out of nowhere?
Often times these characters which you never dreamt of, never knew anyone like or even planned ahead of time beg to become a part of your story.  Sometimes they come about because you need someone to fill in a beat or a scene that seems empty.  Then before you know it you find them popping up in every scene and sequel (subject for future blog) and you can’t get them out of your head. 
Let them breathe and come to life!  Sometimes in life the best thing about not following a plan is that plans change.  Adapt, overcome and achieve.  It could be the best thing which happens to your story.
Until next time,
Keep on thriving, keep on striving and keep on writing!
T.K. Millin
The Unknown Author      

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