Sunday, November 23, 2014

Getting to know characters

Today I wrote more than a thousand words for a work in progress. None of which will appear in the manuscript itself.

I was working on a draft and realized that I was having a hard time getting a grip on an important character. I had trouble writing her end of the dialogue because I wasn't sure what she was thinking and feeling. I also didn't know much about her talents, goals, and fears.

I could keep plunging forward with the point-of-view character, could keep running with the plot, but this secondary character influences the story so strongly that that just seemed like a waste of time. Everything I learn about this character could provide new opportunities to send the story in different directions. Not to mention deepening every scene she's in, and giving my main character more to work with in relating to her.

It was time to break away from the main manuscript and do a side exercise, one I've used before. I did a character sketch of her, in her first-person POV. And as I did, she became more likeable. Her feelings about the main character became clearer. She now has more of a personality.

I still have more work to do on her, but it was a good start. And a reminder that not every word I need to write ends up going directly into the book.

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