Getting to know your characters part 2
Current word count: 18,834
New words written: 572
Words til goal: 21,166 / 450 words a day til the end of September
This word count is actually for two days, as I didn’t get a chance to write here yesterday, and it’s lower than my goal. So I have some catching up to do this weekend.
But the good thing is, I did some research and discovered some great new things about one of my characters.
I always think it’s amazing when a character comes to life by itself with no effort on my part. All writers have experienced these moments, but it still amazes me how a character — who is supposedly just in our imagination — can tell US what they’re like without us having to invent a thing, as though instead of imagining, we’re merely tapping into another world where these characters already reside.
I’d been feeling as though I didn’t completely know one of my main characters, but for a few days, I’d been getting this image in my head of him getting out of bed and reaching for a cane — an 11 year old. I couldn’t shake this image. And I hadn’t written anything to suggest there was anything wrong with this character and it wasn’t part of the main story whatsoever, but for some reason, when he got out bed, he reached for a cane. Weird.
After much research over the last couple days, I figured out why he has a cane and, just like that, the whole character came alive. I now understand the “why” behind every action and decision he makes.
Knowing the “why,” what makes our characters move and think and talk the way they do, is essential for writers. Sometimes the “why” will be in the story, and sometimes it won’t. But knowing that “why” makes the character come alive for us, and his/her actions and choices will be all the more authentic and believable to a reader.
Now that I know my character’s “why,” I’m having so much more fun writing his adventure. If only I didn’t need pesky sleep! 🙂
How do your characters share who they are with you?