Do you start your story with all of your characters already written out? Do you know how they will act, what they might say?
I am a person who sucks at dialogue; but now, because I’m dabbling in character creation, I feel like I’m learning, or they are teaching me… it is as if the characters, once created are speaking for themselves, each with a distinct voice to suit his actions.
The fun part of writing is pushing the situations just little bit, or a whole shove from the norm, at the same time as trying to keep it real. The characters can help you along, or you can create a character grid, and make sure to follow closely. What might a character do? How far should you push them?
For Example, if I think a character is vain, I really get silly with that vanity, i.e., I try to take it way beyond what a normal person might do. I’ll have them missing conversation, irritating people, and losing weight because they are so engaged in their reflection in the dinner plates they forget to eat! If a person is clumsy, I have them tripping all over the place.
Are they an evildoer? They are going to take a shot at your baby sister’s baby bunnies, drag the key down the side of someone’s car, blow up pigeons for fun and chuckles, and generally wreak havoc.
Same goes for nice. Made of sugar, but sometimes spice is the answer there. As for the middling ones, it helps to shove them over either edge to see how they will handle the drop. Sometimes a character will grow if you push them, this is especially true if you shove each into the other! The characters will tell you what they will and won’t do along the way once you start getting them down on the page.
I like to take them to extremes because it makes the story better, even if I tone them down later. It’s just fun to have a character go beyond the bounds of what is the accepted “norm”. The lengths to which you can manipulate your characters into a twisted tale are endless, and even impossibilities are, well, possible if you decide they are real enough to write them down!
For the rest of the month I’ll be catching up on all of the possible goofs I have missed in adding the new characters. I want a seamless blending where I have added them in, which means line by line editing. I take the time when doing this to catch dropped punctuation, spelling errors, grammatical no-no’s, etc..
It is also a good time to check and see that your characters are showing, speaking, and acting it out rather than you telling the story.
Believe me, no matter how many times I go over it, I catch a couple more errors, and kill them off, hiding the evidence, so that by the time I get to the end, I will be ready for the next batch of revisions from Friends, Beta Readers, Agents and Editors.
I recommend you try adding a couple of characters and see what happens with your story. I’ll bet it grows in ways you didn’t expect. Have fun playing in your world, the company is great!
Thanks for the advice!
Have you seen the show Glee? The writers do an excellent job pushing the limits of the characters while keeping it somewhat believable.