Sunday, July 28, 2013

Let your characters guide you - by Rita Karnopp

Before we begin typing that first word - we always (or most times) have the ending in mind.  There are a couple books I had an idea of what I wanted my end result to be – how I got there was something of a mystery.  My point – we don’t always end up where we think we will.

You must be willing to adapt . . . make changes, be aware of the flow of your story.  Never . . . never . . . never . . . cling to your synopsis because it was how the ‘story was supposed to go.’  Really???  I believe a story never goes the way I planned – I have to be open for my characters to surprise me.  And boy – do they surprise me!

Make your really good story idea great by a willingness to adapt as the story unfolds.  Each character develops as he/she unfolds in your story.  You can’t force a character’s behavior.  Always allow him/her the ability to act/react in a natural way.

Be open minded while writing - Keep in mind – what works for one book won’t always work for the next.  Characters in each book are different and you must always let them lead you through each scene.  Listen to them  . . . and give them free rein!

How exciting when your character demands something different – something you never thought of!  Allow your characters to add atmosphere and excitement.  Think of it this way – as your characters develop . . . the story unfolds into places you never imagined. 

Release the control. You know you’re a talented writer. That doesn’t mean you’re instantly good at letting go – giving your character permission to be him/herself.

Never start writing a book with ideas set in stone.  Guidelines will keep you from writing yourself into a corner, but don’t be so controlling you won’t allow something unexpected to happen. 

Allow your characters to laugh, cry, have highs and definitely lows.  Make them feel . . . and the reader will respond.  By allowing your character a ‘voice’  - the dialog will flow with ease and belief.  Step in because you don’t like the direction and your reader will be jerked out of the scene – maybe forever.

Believe in your characters. As I said at the beginning, we don’t always end up where we think we will.  That’s the good news!  When your character surprises you while you’re writing – it surprises the reader.  Some of my greatest scenes were created by my characters; their personality, reaction, and drive or direction leads them to places only they can imagine.  Trust them – you’ll love where it takes you! 


Ginger Simpson said...

Not all of us know the ending. As a pantser, I never know where I'm headed until I get there which makes it doubly hard when you have writer's block. I don't dare plot my character's story because they are telling it to me, albeit very slowly at times.

Anita Davison said...

I am an inveterate plotter - but still my characters get bored with my logical progress and break out of the mould to go off on their own and plough their own path. Even my 'virtual children' don't listen to me!

Rita Karnopp said...

Ginger.... I so know what you mean ... I have the idea of what I want the ending to be... and it seems most times the characters don't behave and have an ending all their own. I'd be interested to know how many actually can predict the ending.

Anita- Too funny - but it's true isn't it... I love the analogy of 'children' ..because it's true - we can't dictate what they will do or say either! I love it. :) Rita

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