Writing characters

I can’t write plots. I write characters.

I have to have characters that I can ponder, and mull over, and analyze. Characters who I want to spend time with, because, let’s face it, writing a story means spending six months to a year with these people talking in my head. I’d better like them an awful lot.

Writing fanfic was easy, because all the characters and world were pre-built. I was just writing my own spin on it all, and it was great fun. But lately I’d begun to chafe at the restraints of fanfic. If you venture too far from the characters or setting, it’s not fanfic anymore (or you’re accused of writing Mary Sue).

My husband has an original modern fantasy universe that he’s been messing with for years (I’ve written in it before). I’m working on my third story in his universe. It’s way better than writing fanfic. For one thing, even though I’m using his characters, they’re his, no one else’s. They’ve lived in his head for so long that they have a second room in my head, too.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to sum each of them up in 1 word. It’s a fun game to play, and see if we both come up with similar words for the same characters.

Carda: Cocky
Xironi: Responsible
Jake: Focused
Revi: Conflicted
Deirdre: Angry
Charr: Grumpy
Eddie: Humble
Dusk: Cheerful
Seamus: Handy

The bad guys:

Spectre: Paternal
Ghost: Crafty
Shade: Quiet

The trouble is, this third story is starting to need a Big Bad. Not the Biggest Bad (aka the Voldemort), but more of a Head Baddy who hired on the Bad Guys. I just don’t know who it is yet. I love making bad guys, and I hate it, too. Because this bad guy has to take up residence in my head along with the good guys, and if I build this bad guy right, I’m going to despise him.

One thought on “Writing characters

  1. Fanfic, in my humble opinion, is easy in some ways but also more challenging, in some ways. Because the audience already has expectations. The people who created the characters have already laid down the rules. So writing well and credibily often requires finding ways to make people rethink their opinions WHILE playing within certain boundaries.

    Meanwhile with original characters and worlds, the rules are all your own. If you sublty tweak a widely known character, people notice. If you tweak your own character…. It can take just as much effort and have just as much impact on the story but… it might not be as noticable or appreciated.

    That’s why I stick with fanfic, for now.

    I admire your courage, for being dedicated to your own world. Can relate to the troubles of characters taking up residence in the brain. Sometimes it’s good to kick them out for a while, if possible. You tend to see them differently if you can catch a break now and then. Maybe your bad guy (or gal!) is already lurking there. Maybe you’ll recognize them better as the writing continues.


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