Saturday, January 29, 2011

Choosing Which Character Lives

How do writers choose their characters?  Do they sit down in front of their computers and decide which traits to mesh together to bring their latest creation to life?  Or is it more Organic than that? 

I’ve read about writers whose characters are practically beating down the door demanding to be heard.  That’s a bit strange I thought - characters talking to you and controlling how the story goes.  Pulease!  I’m the writer, I’m the creator and I’m in charge!  

These other writers that say their characters talk to them are not playing with a full deck.  I’m not like that.  I’m in control of all my faculties - or so I thought.  My arrogance knew no bounds.  Well, the realization finally hit me.  In my fervent quest to free myself of writer’s block, I’ve gone off the deep end.  I find that I’m fielding off a couple of characters who want to tell a story. 

This complicates things because now I have to incorporate an added level of perplexity to my madness.  My problem is that some characters are clearer than others.  Their ‘voices’ if we can call it that, are stronger than others.  This is new to me and I’m trying to figure out how to sort all this out and not have these new characters divert me from the stories I’m currently working on, without losing them in the process. 

I’m more of a pantser than a plotter so I’m a little worried because if I don’t write things down right away the story dies.  Also, I’m faced with the dilemma of choosing which characters get to ‘live’ and which don’t. 

The best I’ve been able to do is create a spreadsheet to keep track of them but if I don’t write about them, their essence is lost – the story gone.  I feel bad like I didn’t do enough and let them die.  

Perhaps I should continue my journey knowing that not all characters make it in the end and concentrate on the one who have a chance to live.


  1. Well I have never been so lightly taken consideration of in all my long life. I will not be subject to your whims about whether I live or die. Before I submit to any more of your self righteousness I will take my frequency generator ( which I do have possession of ) and skip to some other writers story and continue my research there. You have some nerve to think that because you dreamt me up that I wasn't already in existence and surrepticiously planted as an idea in your imagination for someone other than your own benefit. So, I say fare well and adieu. Good luck finishing your story without me.

    sincerely, Mr. Warren

  2. Mr. Warren

    Thank you for your letter. I do appreciate your honesty and fervor. Please understand that as a highly gifted scientist I do respect and value your talents and I apologize if at any time you felt threatened. I have not at any time considered ending your life. Therefore, you shouldn’t fear that the end of your existence will come by my hand.

    However, I’m concerned that the Council holds a different opinion on this matter and have set the Watchers against you. All I can advise at this time, Mr. Warren, is that you RUN!

    May you have a pleasant, if short-lived, life.

    The Author