There’s a funny thing that happens to every fiction writer at least once in her lifetime. Her carefully crafted fictional character decides he is going to behave in a way the author did not anticipate. For all her plotting, all her planning and outlining and poring over journeys and encounters and goals, she cannot force the character to become what he is not. She, as much as any reader of her finished product, is in the process of discovering her characters and their stories.
It happened to me again this week, and I realized that writing fiction is–in a sense–the same as writing a biography or a family history: You don’t create a character so much as you get to know him; and you don’t craft a story so much as you listen to the tales your character tells. Sometimes the only way to learn what a character will do is to try and get him to do something and learn what he won’t do.
In that sense, I always feel a bit awkward when someone asks if I’ve figured out how the story is going to end. I think, The end of the story? I don’t even know how this CHAPTER is going to play out!
The truth of the matter is that I still have so much to learn about all of my characters. I don’t mind. I’m rather enjoying their little idiosyncrasies.
I can’t wait for you to meet them!
From the shores of Wicket Lake,
1 thought on “Creating Characters”