Tuesday, August 31, 2010
On great moment in writing a book is when the characters spring to life and start acting on their own. When that happens it’s a joy to sit down at the keyboard as you are hooked on the scene and you want to find out what your characters are going to do and how they will handle the situation you’ve set up.
When you start writing with these characters you sit down at your keyboard until you notice that your lower body is protesting and then notice you’ve written 5,000 words in one sitting.
The flip side is when you have a character that you’ve formed a complete backstory for, have their motivations down and even some of their little quirks mapped out and when they enter the scene they draw all the life out of it, the writing equivalent to watching a movie starring Ben Affleck.
I somehow managed to get one of these characters in my latest book and she is killing me. Every piece of dialog has to be written three times and still comes out flat. So I might write 3,000 words but what finally makes it on the page is under a thousand and I know I’m going to have to go back and rewrite it.
So my progress is jerky, I’ll zoom through 3,000 to 5,000 words a day with my strong characters that have come alive and then hit a scene with her and it will take a week to get the 1,500 word scene out.
The only good part about the fact that I really hate this character is that I had to have the heroes question her for information, and they were probably a bit rougher on her than if she had really come alive in the book before then.
It made for a good scene but if I can’t go back and get some life into her character it will be meaningless as the reader will just be totally indifferent to her and not care.
By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts