Thursday, March 4, 2010

When Characters Change

What happens when characters change? Well, they’re supposed to change, so what do I mean? I’m not talking about how a character develops throughout a story as one reads it. I’m talking about how a character might change through a story as a writer writes the story, and I by change I mean change, not evolves or develops. My main character, let’s call her F, is not what I imagined her to be when I started. There was a point when I was in the beginning of this draft that F finally “spoke” to me. I was thrilled! From this one sided conversation with her, she did all the talking, I came up with how I thought she’d be. I was sure she was going to be rebellious and rambunctious, a real smart aleck who took care of herself and those she cares about. She was to be bold and confident, etc. etc. Well, she’s not. At least, she’s not all of those things. F has turned out to be more of a quiet type. There are some rebellions and she can be rambunctious too, but these things happen when she thinks no one is watching and when she’s doing her chores. Now the hard thing for me is that the further I get along in the book and the more I get to know F, the more I think about all the editing that needs done earlier in the book. There’s a plus to this though. I think because it’s the first time I’m determined to finish a WIP, I’m not sure what I’m doing. That doesn’t sound positive, does it? The positive is that I may have a lot of editing to do, but I don’t have enough experience writing to get to know a character before I write something. So what happens when characters change? Well, you let them be who they are, of course! And you make lots of notes in your head so that when you start editing you can fix it so the character says/does things true to themselves and not to who you thought they were.

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