Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Taming of the Character

Day One: Character is born. The writer assigns a name and the character begins to breath. A line of dialogue is given. The character has a voice.

Day Two: The writer is in love with the character. Character is funny, witty, and knows just what to say at any point. Character has developed distinguishing quirks and has a welcome gift of noticing their surroundings and reactions of other characters. Character is interacting nicely with others and helping to move the plot along. The writer pats herself on the back for having the genius to create such a gem.

Day Three: The writer is getting slightly annoyed at the character. Character is insisting they need a larger part and daring to hint their story line should be the main plot.

Day Four: Character has small temper tantrum and jumps up and down. The writer is beginning to pull out small clumps of hair.

Day Five: Character is now showing up in places where they have no business being and is clearly out of control. The writer is now questioning her sanity and wondering if it's too early in the day for a cocktail.

Day Six: Having remembered who is truly in charge, the writer approaches the character holding a whip and a small chair. Character is reminded they can be replaced. Character goes to a corner and sulks. The writer shrugs and continues to write.

Day Seven: Character reappears at exactly the right time. The writer remembers why she created the character in the first place and renews their love affair. Smooth sailing.


Day Eight: New character is born.


  1. I'm a planner. My character bibles are always well thought out and detailed, and yet along the way some characters become obsolete as they disappear, they lose siblings,they change hair colour and name, they kill people they weren't suppose's a mess- so I can completely relate. :(

  2. Lauri; The ironical part is I'm a planner too.

  3. LOL, you made me laugh out loud. Well done! And so true.

  4. Superb! Like Deb I actually laughed out loud – and woke the cat!

  5. Crystal; I'm glad you liked it - but now I have cat guilt.

  6. You nailed these pesky characters perfectly. Thanks for the laugh. I am now ready to open the cage and let mine out again!

  7. I absolutely love this post. So clever you are! Too bad I can't pick your brain for inspiration when I'm in a slump. :)

  8. Jane; Best of luck. I'm sure your characters are far more tame than mine.

    JW; Trust me, I slump. I slump a lot.

  9. Elspeth - I am so sorry it took me so long to respond to this wonderful post! That is *exactly* how my characters behave. They really do take on lives of their own, don't they? Thanks for the reminder of how alive they are, and for the desperately-needed laugh : )

  10. Margot; I'm sorry you needed a laugh desperately, but I'm pleased I was able to provide it!

  11. I love it! Thanks for the smile. We've got to show those characters who is boss!

    Mystery Writing is Murder


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