Thursday, August 04, 2011

CHARACTERS WHO WRITE THEMSELVES

Current Project: LEGACY series
Status: Almost finished with edits for second book
Posted by: Genene Valleau

My series started as one book in 2004 about a young woman with seven brothers who were a little too interested in policing her love life. By the time I was three-quarters finished with the first story, the brothers were demanding--as brothers sometimes do--their own stories. And since eight didn't seem like a good number for a series, I decided their widowed adoptive mother should have her own story to round out the series.


One thing I appreciate with a series of books is once the basic setting is done and relationships between the characters are established, the writing comes fairly easily. That doesn't mean I don't have to put fingers to keyboard to get the words down. However, the characters are like family. I know their basic personalities and how they will react to situations, and they reveal secrets of their pasts and emotions perhaps even they didn't know they carried inside as their stories unfold.


In other words, the characters pretty much write themselves.


For other writers, though this may seem unfair, I've also had characters who revealed themselves one grudging trait at at time. How do your characters come together? Do they spring fully formed from your mind or take time to develop? Which ones became your favorites--the ones that flowed into the story or those you had to dig deep to find?


3 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

My characters mostly take time to develop fully, although a few have emerged fully-formed. I'll admit I have a special fondness for those characters!

chanceofbooks said...

I vastly prefer the characters who leap rather than the ones who sulk :)

My current hero leapt into my head fully formed within a few days of seeing the contest announcement for the memorial day contest. His backstory was what came to me first. His present life was a bit more challenging, but it was all there waiting for me almost. My heroine was the opposite--I immediately knew who she was NOW, but I had to go after her backstory with a chisel, even changing coasts for the fickle wench.

My previous characters have been a mix of leaping as instigators for the book itself and as buried treasure yielded up by a fickle muse. It's probably for the best that not all of them leap--more surprises that way and less temptation to do info dumping. With my current hero, I was so excited by various elements of his backstory that I've had to really sit on my fingers whereas Heroine's seems to reveal itself to me and readers simultaneously as needed.

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Sarah! It's nice to have a fully-formed, "easy" character once in a while, isn't it?

Bethany, so glad you stopped by! I like the way you describe how your characters develop. And it's interesting that some of them reveal their back story right away but not their present lives, and others are the opposite. Hmm...wonder what secrets my characters are keeping?