Writing: Characters Write Themselves


You’re the writer but most times it seems, them characters are the ones running the show:

Happy Saturday world! Hope it’s been a good one thus far. I have today off so I am trying to take advantage and get some writing in. Yesterday after work, I went to Starbucks with my friend, sat together for hours on our devices (her laptop, my iPad) and were productive. I’m proud of myself, I finished a chapter and am now writing Chapter 18. Interesting turn of events happened.

I heard in passing how characters will tell YOU who they are during the writing process. I laugh listening to Veronica Roth talk about how Marcus was planned to die in Book 2 but just refused to die, which now she sees how he needed to live to aid plot in Book 3. I kind of got her meaning but still asked myself, “well, how does that happen?”

Yesterday I came across an author highlight post WeHeartYA tweeted and Mindy McGinnis (Not A Drop to Drink) mentioned something about this that inspired me to pass by blog word and share today.

She said:

“The story’s going to tell itself. Before I started writing, I would hear writers talk about characters making their own decisions, thinks like that, and I was like ‘You’re the writer, you’re in charge, you’re God to these people,’ but you’re not. These people are their own people.”

So I’m on chapter 17, and at the end of chapter 16, I introduced a character who I just through was a higher ranking person coming to ask questions and then, that would be it, probably would never know of him again. Nope! I gave hint to my male lead character’s understanding, perspective on him ending chapter 16, then chapter 17, it was just this new character and my female lead character…boy, was I completely taken by surprise.

This new character was unfolding before my eyes. He was commanding attention and leaving thick essence of mystery to who he is, what he knows, and how he knows it. I’m writing, or shall I say, he was writing himself and I was dumbfounded, in a good way.

I’m siting in Starbucks, typing away on my made-for-nimble-fingers keyboard and suddenly I’m asking the questions, “Who is he?” “How does he know that?” “Is he connected to so and so?” Laughing, I’m suddenly the reader here, dripping with curiosity of events to come when I stop and think, “Uh…wait, I’m the writer. Shouldn’t I have the answers to these things?”

Apparently not, because clearly, this character is writing himself, telling me slowly who HE is and telling me only what I need to know right now, which I find hilarious! Man, these fictional characters, don’t underestimate them.

I thought that was cool and wanted to share.

Well, off to Starbucks to get some more writing done. I work tomorrow morning so gotta take advantage today. Have a great weekend all!

What is everyone reading this weekend? I’m finally (overdue I know!) reading Catching Fire. (half-way through)


One thought on “Writing: Characters Write Themselves

  1. Reblogged this on HalfTangible's Story Desk and commented:
    I can attest to this, if it helps. When I originally started to write Lord of Change (still going, promise 😛 Tuesdays and fridays) Sihlk was just going to teach Ouran to shapeshift, and that was it. A few parts later and-… well, you’ll see. *smirk*
    For my book, there’s a pair of Horos soldiers who were originally only going to show up in one scene that would demonstrate Horos morale at that point in the war. Then I decided to put them at the end, too, to show how it changed, and then… the two of them have five or six scenes planned out now, one of them is a mute, and the other wants to ask the first one out.
    Not really reading anything this week. I finished Nemesis by James Swallow but don’t have the next Horus Heresy novel… so… yeah =(
    ….coulda sworn i had Prospero Burns…


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