You know how it is; you’re just sat there, not thinking about anything, or perhaps you’re writing so furiously your fingers feel like they’re on fire. And then – BOOM! – a new character strolls into your head. Their name, much of their background, the place in the story – or perhaps their own story – is fully formed in your mind. And what can you do, but great them kindly, offer them a cup of tea/coffee/Butterbeer and say they can sit down.
Many writers say their story writes itself, and I know all too well how true that is. This time last year, I was doing NaNoWriMo as well, and I remember my character, Rosen, being far too headstrong, and a bit annoying really, running off where she wasn’t supposed to and crying over her father and brother who may have, er, died prematurely. So what can you do?
Help them along. When your characters write you into a plot hole, take a deep breath, give yourself a few slaps around the face with a large trout (Scouts who did JOTI-JOTA should get that) and get those motherfuckers out of there. You’re like their guardian, they’re angel who helps them with all troubles. Sure, you may cry when you kill their beloved goldfish and they are upset for days, but you are there for your characters, much like your best friends.
What makes a character is their background; why are they like the way they are? Their personality, characteristics. Your character relies on you to make sure your readers know that, and you don’t just let them karate-kick their way out of plot holes, before telling your reader that they’ve been doing martial arts from birth. Or they call their parents ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ 5 chapters before you remember to point out that they’re fostered (..unless that’s the story, of course).
Most of all, when your characters get you into trouble (maybe you’ve been staying up under the sheets to write and your parents have caught you, tut tut, or maybe you’ve just written yourself into an awful plot hole), whatever you do – DON’T QUIT ON THEM! Your characters need you, their creator, their author. Love your characters like yourself – because they’re all a reflection of who we really want to be. Believe in your characters, and that’ll reflect in your work. Make them real and readers will emphasize, cry when they do, make them believe they’re their best friends – but, most of all, it’ll make them remember you.
Sorry the advice in there is a little messed around, and I don’t even know if it’s useful. But I kinda hope it is. Good luck to you; and to your poor character! 😉