Characters come to life on the page…

cheerful multiethnic girlfriends taking selfie on smartphone on sunny day

Some of the best dialogue I’ve ever written comes from the characters I’m writing about themselves. Of course all the ideas, words and thoughts are coming from me, but it doesn’t feel that way sometimes. In moments of pure creation, I’m more of a court scribe, recording a conversation for posterity than a writer pecking at a keyboard. When my muse is fully invested in my work, the words fly from my fingers like Lachesis weaving destiny for mortals long ago. It’s heady stuff, and other times without divine intervention can feel cheapened in comparison. I have to write through those scenes too, and wait for the next tie lightning strikes. The best part is writing enough that those times don’t feel so far apart!

Characters can surprise me when the scene unfolds in unexpected ways. Dialogue is only one example of characters putting their stamp on the pages of a story. Actions, reactions, plans and mistakes all push characters and their responses in different directions. Sometimes I have to reign in the impulse to let them roam free to keep the narrative on track. It’s easy enough to lose my way with the plotting I do for a scene compared to the entire act or over arching plot, but a willful character can send me off the rails and make me question (sometimes for the better) the plan I had to begin with. I’ve rewritten more than a few times because the idea I came up with while exploring a character was better than my first thought without consulting them. 🙂

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