When Characters Develop

by courtvanhaaren

One of the most interesting aspects of constructing a novel thus far, in my opinion, is the transformation of characters from thought into the story line. When your characters develop from a concept to a person, a wide range of emotions arise, ranging from frustration to love.

And why wouldn’t your characters create said range of emotions? They are your creation. To be able to imagine and construct an imaginary person with an imaginary world and interactions is an amazing thought. On the flip side, in some ways your character isn’t your creation. Once that character is created, it’s their story being told. I’m not sure how many of you readers and authors have had this occur, but I’m currently at ends with my NaNo novel. I had the outline of the novel created before NaNo kicked off, but once the challenge began my characters started telling their parts of the story. Once they started telling me their story, the novel changed entirely.

It’s not like it was intentional. I wouldn’t have even bothered with an outline if I knew it was going to occur. My novel just changed when I started to actually tell the story of my characters. When that happened, when I started writing their fears and documenting their joy, it just turned from my outline to their story. (Don’t get me wrong, the notebook with my outline disappeared with the initial kick-off. But it’s not like I would forget everything about the novel.)

And believe me when I say it becomes emotional once their story begins. With my outline, I knew what was going to happen with a certain character. I knew who was going to interact. I knew who was going to disagree. I knew who was going to fall in love. I knew who would experience heartache and immense sorrow. I didn’t give their feelings and experiences a second thought. Yet once those words are wrote and those sentences form those situations become real. Their pain is real. (My tears were real.)

When it comes down to it, I am really glad that I’m experiencing these emotions and that the characters are becoming more real and raw. This post is just to make some sort of commentary on their development. It is influenced by two posts; the first, my post about Mary Sues. I wish I would have saved that post and continued it when I began to write because my MC opinion then and now are completely different. I acknowledge that after her story began to unfold. The second post is in the works. I’m going to make a post, hopefully soon, that will introduce readers and viewers to one of my characters. I’m working on his description and picking the right scenes to introduce him. I picked him in particular because he was another character not receiving the proper respect from me. Before I began writing he was just a name. Correction, just a first name. I knew his place in the story, but I didn’t know much of him. When he finally appeared in the story is when his face appeared and his personality finally showed. I hope that once I do finish the post and publish it that you guys will like him.

So, if you ever have doubt about your characters, just let them talk. They will come through. If not, then they’re not the ones who should be telling the story.

That it all for now. I do want to make an apology if the post seems redundant to any reader or visitor. I’m just trying to express properly my awe at the process.

~C M VanHaaren