News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

August 26, 2010

Characters Galore!

Writers are weird. There, I said it. We really are, you know; how many people do you know right now (not from online but from your friends and family that you see every day) that do the following?
  • Smile and ask their parents/spouse for a $50 gift certificate to the bookstore as their only birthday present.
  • Spend their spare time talking to their main character.
  • Take 2 hours brainstorming for the name of their novel rather than spend those 2 hours brainstorming for science homework.
  • Take a cracker from the snack cupboard and tell the people around them, "This is how my character would eat." 
  • Dream of how to torture their antagonist/protagonist.
  • Fret over how to best word a sentence. No wait...fret about the wording of a sentence. No, that doesn't sound right: fret over sentence structure? Ah, forget it.
  • Stare at the stars and pretend they're in [insert name of world]
  • Carry a notebook around to jot down information about historical artifacts and weather phenomena while on vacation.
  • Say, when asked which room in the house is their favourite, "My room, because I keep my book collection there." 
  • Read over 5 books per week if given the chance.

Okay, I could go on, but I think you get the point. As writers and/or authors, we all look at the world a bit different then those around us who aren't writers. I say we use our brains differently from the "common" public just as scientists use their brains differently than we do. (by the way, trying to be a scientist and a writer is tough work; I know from experience)

So now on to my topic of interest. Characters. How many do you have currently? I can't even count the ones I know from memory. Perhaps the ones I can recall best include:
  • Galeron the Silent Wanderer
  • Victoria the orphan
  • Mr. Valemonte (the devil in disguise)
  • Ms. Crabby (aka. Farina, the evil miniature angel)

As I try to get to know my characters better, I find that I spend more time forcing them to be who I want them to be rather than allowing them to "show me" who they really are. For instance, I have always tried to fit Mr. Valemonte to the form of a skinny, ramrod man with a creased face. But that is NOT who he is. Every time I try and write about him he seems to sneer back at me and say "Bah. You don't know what you're doing!" Of course, the only reason this occurs is because I have not allowed my characters to develop independent of my own forceful hand. I now see that Mr. Valemonte is really a tall, serene looking man with a bit of a paunch who has creases on his face (everywhere but the eyes). And his breath smells. You see, you can't force your characters to be who you want them to be, you have to let them become whom God intends them to be.

The other important point I must make is that the more characters you have the more challenging your writing will become. I have never had many characters in my writing, and if I do add extra ones in part way, it is because I need them to strengthen my main character's appearance. See, everything you do must be done to benefit your main character. No one else really matters in the story. Your reader is going to attach to one individual and the rest will be considered casually on the side. This is a key mistake in writing; too many "important" characters cause the reader to become confused. Every extra character you add into your story must have their whole life based on molding your main character to become the individual you wish them to be.

An example: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; The MC (Elizabeth Bennett) is shown to be a prideful and prejudiced young lady (although at first we don't see this as so). Austen adds many different characters to the tale to show the reader how Lizzy changes. Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Bennett, GAh, the whole gamboozle of them all are there to act as indicators for the reader so he/she can determine exactly how much Lizzy has changed over the course of the tale.

So now I leave you with three things to ponder:

{1} Writers/Authors are strange individuals.
{2} Get to really know your characters so they can be themselves.
{3} Your main character is the most important.


  1. Haha! I'm the only one that I know that would do any of those things in the list! And I know what you mean about writers being weird; especially writers that are also scientists!

  2. No, no, Squeaks. It's, 'Fret over what the best way is to word a sentence.' Sheesh. XD

  3. LOL

    @ Eldra, Unfortunately I know several people who do those things, but they happen to be writers too :P

    @ Jake, I don't know about sounds a bit choppy don't you think? Gotta find a way to make it smooth. :P


  4. Hmmm. I agree, Squeaks. Far too choppy.

  5. ...and this symbolizes the beginning of a writer's critique group XD


  6. Stare at the stars and pretend their in [insert name of world]
    ^ ahem, I believe you have fallen prey to the dreaded Error of There/their/they're
    The one you want here is "they're," short for "they are."

    Ooh? Critique group? I can never get enough critiqueing to suit me.

  7. Gah! I can't believe I misspelled that :S


    There, it's fixed. I must have been typing too fast and didn't realize (you know, I don't re-read my work on my blog very often; usually cuz I'm in a hurry). Oy...thank you Galadriel!

  8. Love this Squeaks! Yeah I find myself doing a lot of those things. My family has given up asking why I just go around the house randomly smiling and laughing to myself. Being a writer is so much fun!

    One recent thing I have noticed, I don't shower half as long as I used to in, out, write. They need to make a water proof laptop.

    As to characters. Well up until about 3 months ago, I had NO idea characters could be such difficult people. I wrote a novel and was editing it and all of a sudden my MC called another Character Katherine. I stopped him and said NO her name is CHARLOTTE!!! NO her name is Katherine. I looked at her and asked her...Katherine. THE WHOLE FIRST DRAFT I CALLED HER CHARLOTTE. How annoying. Then I met Jack. Jack well just took away the story wouldn't do anything I said and INSISTED on giving himself the full name Jacob even though I hate it. Jack also added far too many words and plot complications but now I like Jack that I have finally stopped fighting with him.

    Yes writing is wonderful.


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