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ukpierre
August 13th, 2005, 04:37 PM
Hi

I've just been reading some of the posts regarding a previous topic about writer's block.

I agree with the people who say that a writer should not think but write, and write to completion. All that matters is that something is produced, even if what comes out might appear to be cr*p. I've read a few times that the tasks of applying corrections, structure, researching etc. use a different part of the brain and can be applied once the creative part of the brain has created a draft story. All this seems like common sense to me.

What I'm not so sure on are character profiles and plot. If 'character is plot' should I make it a priority to get to know my characters as intimately as possible before I even start thinking about writing a first draft?

Thanks

P

Dawnstorm
August 13th, 2005, 11:31 PM
What I'm not so sure on are character profiles and plot. If 'character is plot' should I make it a priority to get to know my characters as intimately as possible before I even start thinking about writing a first draft?

Nobody can tell you that. It depends entirely on how you work.

Me, I get to know my characters while writing. Else, why would I bother to write at all?

Expendable
August 14th, 2005, 01:58 AM
Some writers like to know their characters intimately before they start.

Others start with an idea and learn more about their characters as they write.

Writers write. You should spend some time looking at how you write, but too much and you're just delaying putting words on paper.

MrBF1V3
August 14th, 2005, 02:08 AM
I tried that once, sketching out my characters first, making an outline of the story. I was bored, it took a long time, and when I finally started writing, I had really cool characters who didn't have a lot to do.

I prefer to do the outlining and background as I go, putting my characters into situations then defining them by what they do.

Also, there is a theory going around that all of your characters are you
(on some level). Get to know yourself.

B5

Ward
August 14th, 2005, 12:00 PM
If you want to try it, try it. I've found it very effective in the past, more as a way to break the dam and get the words flowing then anything else, but I have come up with insights into how to use characters, and how to bounce them off one another in this way. Sometimes seeing all the essential elements of the character distilled down into a concise 200 or 300 words (of course, maybe you feel like writing more, who knows?) can be illuminating.

Also, I find I really cut loose with 'unseen' writing of this kind, the stuff that isn't part of any final draft, the 'just for me' notes and etcetera that are half outline, half word doodle. We all work differently, thing is if you are curious about it as a method then try it on and see if it fits.

Saedolin
August 29th, 2005, 08:55 PM
Usually, an idea for plot will centre around one or two main characters. As a writer, you'll probably feel that you already 'know' these characters quite well. I find that I get to know more about my characters as I write them :)

What I also find is that the more I write, the easier I find it to create new characters and 'mesh' them into the gaps of the story, a bit like supply and demand. You see where a character is needed, e.g. hero requires a best friend as part of his motivation (crappy example, but there you go). These characters become immediately familiar due to their association with the leads, and so forth - and become easier to write in the manner.

pcarney
August 30th, 2005, 08:57 AM
I always start my stories with a strong idea of each main characters background, motivations, etc. Then, as I write its the characters voice that develops, which in turn further develops who they are. For example, in my current WIP I thought the main character was going to be a shy, reserved kind of guy. Instead, he's turned into a bit of a wiseass and, frankly, a bully. Although his history, etc. will remain, this obviously changes the character completly- how he reacts to situations, what his opinions are, and all that. I am working from a pretty detailed outline (50% written down, 50% in my head), and this already deviates from the 'script'. But its making for a much better story, so I'll keep with it.

williemeikle
August 30th, 2005, 09:14 AM
With me it usually starts with a strong image in my head, like a still from a movie. At this point I only know what I can see ... sometimes there isn't even a character involved in the picture.

Then the movie starts rolling as I write, and I learn stuff as I go.

Sometimes I get a whole story running in my head very quickly, so I know where the writing is going and I can lay down a basic plot outline beforehand. Other times the knowledge comes a second before I'm due to write it.

Willie
http://www.willie.meikle.btinternet.co.uk

Tarn
August 30th, 2005, 12:14 PM
Personally, I tend to take lots of time to put detail into the general history of the 'world' the story is set in (particularly if it's set in an entirely fabricated universe), but I only do brief notes for characters.

In my latest, for example, I have a timeline that spans several hundred years (in varying amounts of detail), but character notes are very brief, only consisting of (very) general personality traits, the odd bit of history, where they're from etc. The actual details I tend to work out as the story goes along, as it makes the process more fun, as Dawnstorm mentioned. Of course, that sometimes means that early sections need to be reworked to bring into line with the more detailed understanding you come to later, but that's all part of it, if you ask me.

The reason I work out lots of details for the 'world' is so that I don't have to think about it as I write. Character stuff can be done 'on the fly', and it's fun to see how characters react, but I want the world to be fully established in my head, so that I can drop the characters into any scenario without having to pause and work out how the area 'works'. If I had to work out characters and the world at the same time, I think I'd get rather overwhelmed.

Michael B
August 30th, 2005, 02:00 PM
What I also find is that the more I write, the easier I find it to create new characters and 'mesh' them into the gaps of the story, a bit like supply and demand. You see where a character is needed, e.g. hero requires a best friend as part of his motivation (crappy example, but there you go).
I do my level best not to put extra characters in because as said above, it has been easier to create new one. Also, in the editing process, they often get identified as superfluous and so disappear.

If I can do with one character and an amorphous crowd, war band or horde as opposed to two or more characters, I tend to go for the former.