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Where do Characters Come From?

Do you plot or do you let the characters do the plotting?

Each writer is unique in how they create a story. I don’t like to plot the entire story before I write. I find it boring. Once I’ve plotted it, I’m no longer interested in writing the novel.

I don’t want to give the wrong idea about how I write. I’m very organized. I keep track of everything in a spreadsheet. At the end of a day of writing, I make myself update the spreadsheet. It’s not the most exciting thing to do, but since I haven’t plotted the story, it’s important for me to keep track of it.

Sometimes when I update the spreadsheet, the next scene magically announces itself to me. Then I jot a few notes, leave it for the night and have a starting point the next morning.

I have a general idea of what the story is, sometimes I even know the climax, but I never know when or where new characters are going to appear. I don’t base characters on people I know. I find this hard to do as it is restrictive, and again, not that interesting. I like to make them up from scratch.
For me new characters usually appear when I take my protagonist to a new location. Somehow that stimulates my brain.  Mostly, it’s the nastier characters that appear out of nowhere, so I don’t know what that says about me.
Where do your characters come from?

About Kristina Stanley

9 responses »

  1. Sometimes they just arrive or they become someone unexpected.


  2. I used to not plot, but I’ve found recently that’s it’s essential. I do leave a little hole in the end, though, just to keep it interesting.

    Characters, however, just come to life on their own usually. Not sure where they come from.


  3. This is a fascinating peek into your process. Ultimately, of course, I know that my characters come from different facets of my own personality, but it does feel as if they were there all along, and I was simply unaware of their existence.
    As far as plotting, I try to have my main scenes sketched out (who is in them, what changes) and a rough idea of where and how the story will end. Then the fun starts, and I let my characters loose … :)


  4. Kirsten, I hope some of my characters don’t’ come from some facet of me. They’re top scary. :)


  5. Pingback: Plotting vs. Flying By The Seat of Your Pants writing «

  6. Pingback: Digging through the monotony of writer’s block. Yes! It can be done! | Jennifer M Eaton

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