Character development? Not in my world

I have to laugh. I read something on character development this weekend. I don’t “develop” the characters in my stories. They develop me. You see my characters come talk to me and tell me stories and about their lives. Patricia McKillip says she is her characters’ biographer and I would have to agree. Characters come to me and say I have a story and you need to write it down. Often it’s when I’m sleeping but not always. When I’m driving and they come it leads to a mad scramble to find writing material or pulling over to find my phone and make notes.

BunniHoTep was the first to disturb my sleep and she did it the first time for many weeks. The Heart Town Witch was born from a chance remark from an ex. The Littlest Druid was a sleep invader as was Leonard.

I never know what the story is about until the end. I don’t know where they are going. I do know where they have been once they introduce themselves. Melly was there with Leonard in the beginning. Greg showed up much later and at first I thought he might be a villain in the story but he turned out not to be.

My characters are fully developed beings of their own. I suspect they all live in some other place in the multiverse and when the veils between worlds open up they come through and sit in my ears and brain. Sometimes I suspect I’m easier to get through to than others to tell me news.

Sometimes they make me laugh. Sometimes they make me cry and sometimes both in the same story. I don’t really know where they come from. Some psychologist would either say I’m nuts or that they are the positive side of my self. They do seem to be very positive beings and heaven knows I am not always that way. Sometimes I want to be to be worthy of them, especially when I’m feeling the sarcastic crone.

But what I really am, is happy that they share what they do and that I can share them with others. But if I’m crazy, it’s a good crazy and I suspect a lot of other authors have the same kind of crazy. A good reading of authors discussing their characters on Twitter tells me that. So development, not even close, introduction to a new friend, more like it.

4 thoughts on “Character development? Not in my world

  1. I know Anne Rice says the same thing, and, I BELIEVE I heard J.K. Rowling say something very similar. Clive Barker wrote one of my favorite books, “Weaveworld”, in which all of the characters that live in fiction… live… but they have been trapped in an oriental rug. The rug is slightly damaged and begins to unravel, and as it does, the characters find themselves awakening in this world. But, whether in our world or theirs, they exist. They are all real beings with desires and concerns and feelings. So, apparently Clive Barker feels the same way as you.

    I don’t know why, but Bunnihotep has found a very special place in my heart. Maybe it is because I like animals so much. But I can’t see a rabbit on campus now without calling out to her, “Hello, Bunnihotep!”


  2. Pingback: Character development? Not in my world | patwoodblogging

  3. I agree. I was talking with someone about writing prep and I was like “I don’t know them till I start writing, then they introduce themselves to me at their own pace.” They just come out when they are ready!


  4. Most of the characters in my stories live full lives in my head. The challenge I have is representing them accurately on the page.


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