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Characterization for my novel

Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:53 pm
by novelwriter
Hello writers!

Today so far was good for me because I was able to work on a little bit of characterization for my novel. I am going to try and work on some tonight after supper and tomorrow. My goal is to get three character sketches done by next weekend so that I can start on my character backstory. (I admit I have already started to do exercises on that.)

Wish me luck- :D :D

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:33 am
by LilacWine

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:27 pm
by novelwriter
Well I tried getting the sketches done by the weekend and it didn't work. I don't know if I am spending too much time on my characters and not on writing my novel....I did get a little more character work done lately. Btw-does anyone know when the are finished sketching and fleshing the characters? I have seen good examples and bad ones. And when I see bad examples I can't help thinking if there was more time how I would have tried to improve it.

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:54 pm
by pengwenn
I don't know what to tell you novel. I don't do characters sketches, or outlines or any other prewriting stuff (though I probably should as it might help to keep me organized). I like just starting the story and seeing where everything is going to go from there. The down side to that is that I have a lot of stories that don't really go anywhere at all.

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:36 pm
by novelwriter
Hey pen I have another question for you. How do just go through the motion? My brain would really go crazy if I did what you did-no offense it is just an observation. I don't think I could just start by going through my brain to the keyboard and blank screen. I do that when I am workig with the programs I have.

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:02 pm
by TheMudge
It's all in the way you're wired, Novel. Different people write in different ways.

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:41 am
by Jamie Ford
I do very rough outlines--basically a beginning, an ending and a few key scenes. I don't create character sketches, I just let them react to what's happening around them. Their personas seem to come alive along the way.

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:03 pm
by pengwenn
Mudge is right. People are just wired differently and so they're going to approach their writing differently.

For me I don't like to know too much about a character before I start writing. I start with a VERY sketchy idea like "what if the cops showed up at your front door" and see what characters and situations come from that. (For that idea I turned it into a fantasy story with a guy who was previously exiled from one kingdom only to be sought out to be exiled again. I did it for a challenge here and if I can figure out which one I'll let you know.) As I thought about what type of character would be exiled the story just started to flow from there.

Personally I don't like having full character sketches because what if I want to change something later on down the road? Like what if I decided that my exiled character actually grew up with a very happy normal childhood and only came into trouble later in life? I start writing my story that way only to find that I need to have my exiled character experience a very traumatic period in his childhood. Now my character sketch doesn't match what's happening with my story. If I put my character sketch into writing then it's law for me and it's very hard to change my way of thinking about my character.

I know not everyone operates the way that I do. I've known writers who write everything down while in the "planing" phase of the writing process. They write up a detailed discription of every character and every scene of the story. They kind of treat this process like a first draft. The bare bones of the story is finished and just needs to be fleshed out. They say the benefits of this process is that they know where the story is going and they don't get sidetracked by minor plot or characters or pointless plot points. They also seem to have to do less editing when they're finished writing because they've worked at all the kinks ahead of time.

At times I envy these people. When they start writing they know how it will end and they also know they CAN end it. That's not always the case for things I write. Some times I'll put countless hours and pages into a story that just won't go anywhere . . . except my garbage bin.

No matter how you approach your writing just know this: THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS THE STORY. You can write the most beautiful, detailed character shetches or plot outlines, but if you don't sit down and write the story what good are they? You can also sit down to write with only a vague idea in your head but if you can't unfold that into a story on the page that's not going to be any better.