Characterisation

I don’t know about you but most of my stories are about people. They have major and minor characters and between them they carry the plot forward. Yet I become confused by the arguments around character led or plot led stories, as though one isn’t integral to the other. It’s become a bit more involved for me since I’ve devoted much more of my time to writing my first novel. A novel which, incidentally, began a couple of years ago as an idea for a short story and has now blossomed into a 50,000 word first draft, which is increasing every day. It’s only a first draft, I hear you say, but I’ve never got this far before with a single project.

It’s the experience of writing more than a 5,000 word story which has made me realise that not only does the plot change as I write more words but characters change their significance too. They take on their own persona and begin to tell me what they intend to do next. It’s very strange but it makes it really exciting. So when my wife asks What is xxx going to do next? And I say I don’t really know. I don’t.

This has always happened to me in short stories but no to the extent it is doing at the moment. I am beginning to allow the characters a bit more of a free rein and I’ve even changed a minor character, who briefly appears at the beginning of the story, into quite a major player as the story has progressed.

Luckily, as I write in Scrivener, it’s very easy to add to the characters profile and weave their lives into the story as it progresses.

It’s like a magical experience in which I’m only playing a part in. The Characters and the story dictate to me what will happen.

Does this happen to you too?

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4 thoughts on “Characterisation

  1. Your experience is a lot like mine. My writing is character-centered, but that doesn’t mean I know exactly where the characters are going or what they’ll be doing. They evolve along with the storyline. Right now, I’m working out this year’s NaNoWriMo novel and there are days when I’m absolutely thrilled by the solution to a problem or an unexpected twist to my understanding of a character. And Scrivener really makes it easy to expand the character profiles and add new elements to the plot.

    I’ve been blogging the development of this novel, from first idea to working my way through problems, and I’m finding that the blogging itself sometimes helps me think more deeply about the process.

  2. Well it’s good to know that others have the same understanding of the way things change. I’ll be following you now as I’m interseted to see how your novel progresses. Good luck with it and thanks for visiting.

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