Masked Character

Who are you and where did you come from?

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Has this ever happened to you, your writing along and all of a sudden you have a new character you never thought of, demanding to be part of the story?
She wasn’t in my story outline, and she certainly wasn’t in my character development sheets. But here she is, bold as can be, taking a huge chunk of my thought process.
She works. For some reason, she completes this section of the story I don’t know where she came from or how she popped onto my page. But in my mind, she’s fully developed, and she now has an interesting, intricate part of the story. At least the newest direction the story is suddenly going.
I used to laugh when I heard somebody say the characters wrote themselves or the story writes itself, thinking that it just doesn’t make sense. A figment of my imagination can’t take over and do the work for the writer. Yet now I know it’s true because it’s happened to me over and over again.

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My newest adventure is moving along splendidly when suddenly I’m developing a mermaid character. I’m not sure why, yet it’s all working out and seems right. As any writer knows; when something seems right, you go forward with it full force. Flush out the thought process and see what happens. At the end, if it doesn’t work, save it for another story. But don’t let the thought run away and utilize it. The character or plot twist came to you for a reason.
Sometimes I believe we can get bogged down with the formula of writing and it becomes easy to forget the fun parts the creative parts to letting your imagination run part.
There are some great programs out there to help you develop characters; from the color their hair to their favorite food to their least favorite color. You can create more details about your characters than you ever dreamed possible. However, if you become so intent on developing the character, you could risk losing some spontaneity which makes the story uniquely yours.
The first time this happened to me, I almost threw it out. Being rigid and new to writing, I didn’t want to veer from my outline. But instead of throwing it out I pushed aside for a couple of days to work on something else. Yet, this character remained in the back of my mind nagging at me wanting to come out and make her presence known. So, I let her, and I must say, she became one of my favorite characters in that particular book. I’ve even reintroduced her into a few other books here and there just because I feel she is such an interesting character. And to think I almost threw her away!

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Let the voices talk to you, let them tell you what they want to do and then, from there, be the writer.

Take that nagging thought and create something wonderful.

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