Sunday, June 10, 2012

Character by the seat of my pants

Now, you know I seldom blog about writing itself. I don't teach writing anymore, and I'm quite aware that what works for me is sometimes right in line with the common wisdom (which a thousand sites offer you every day) and sometimes diverts in some idiosyncratic way that's no use to anyone else. I tend to take my own advice on many style issues, and have a somewhat frivolous attitude about question marks.

Well, I do, don't I.

However, now and then someone asks me to do that very thing--to blog about some aspect of writing. And this time not only did I have such a request but I had just been talking about character to a room full of writers at Clockwork Alchemy, the new steampunk convention in San Jose. At that event I was one of a panel trying to fit a lot of stuff into an hour. Lorraine Mace's kind invitation was exactly what I needed to put this particular set of thoughts together in a more thoughtful way. It begins thus...
Some people plot, as they say, by the seat of their pants. I can’t do that, but I do tend to let characters just appear when they need to and tell me who they are as we go along. The last thing I have any use for, no matter how good the questions are, is a “character sheet.”
And continues at Lorraine Mace and Maureen Vincent-Northam's excellent The Writer's ABC Checklist. Please comment there or here or on Facebook, as suits you. I'm interested in your thoughts.

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