I’ve been working on the first draft of my book for a long time now and it’s been plagued with its share of false starts. There have been moments where I’ve wanted to give up altogether but if there’s been one thing that has stopped me from abandoning it, it’s my main character.
Carrie is like a constant voice in my head – a voice that refuses to shut up. It’s similar to having a legitimate imaginary friend except that this one is constantly nagging me to write.
When I submitted my first RNA New Writers Scheme project last year, one of the comments from the reader was that my characters needed development. I didn’t know Carrie very well and I should do.
Carrie is going to be someone who’s going to be around for a while (she doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere,) and so I really should get to know her. So that’s where I’m at, at the moment. I’ve been getting to know Carrie with the aid of Ready Set Novel (which I’m finding helpful for making notes on the novel.) Carrie is my new friend. She is no different to someone I meet in real life. I need to know things about her, even if they don’t end up in the book.
I’m not brilliant at planning. It sets off this anxiety that tells me planning is simply procrastination and that I am using it as an excuse not to write (as if I’ve not got enough things distracting me. Cough, Facebook.)
However, having been developing Carrie over the past few weeks, I am finding it helpful and making her a little more three dimensional is somehow helping with the story – knowing how she’d react, what she likes, dislikes, her favourite things. Who her friends are, her relationship with her parents. I’m having fun getting to know my new friend and am now gaining an understanding as to how important character development is to me and my writing process and that doing this isn’t a waste of time. It helps stall me less in the long run.
Are you a planner? How do you develop your characters?
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.