Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More is Being Revealed: My hero was raised by lesbian Llama farmers

During this quasi-desperate push to get through this whole NaNo craziness, I've been learning alot about my creative process.  I'm finding that I can't just invent background for my characters from thin air.  I had fifteen minutes this morning to write and drink coffee while I waited for middle child to finish his shower (aside:  how can he spend so long in the shower, when I KNOW I used up the last of the hot water before I got out of bed?); and I found myself writing a scene in which my hero checks his voice mail to find that his aunt has left him a message about bringing a date to Easter dinner.

 Turns out his aunt raised him.  His Aunt Janet and her lover, Aunt Stevie, who have a Llama farm in eastern Kentucky (where did I get the Llama idea?could it be here?).  Where is the lesbian aunt in my subconscious?  Who the hell knows. Although, now that I think about it, I do have a gay friend from college who had a farm for a while.  WHATEVER, Freudian issues are not the point of this post. 

The point is this:  I can't just sit around thinking about my characters and figure out what happened to them in the past.  I have to move my fingers to do find out who they are.  Interestingly enough, use my hands alot when I talk, too.  If I sit on my hands, I can't talk.  It doesn't seem to matter whether I am using a pen and paper or a keyboard, but I have to write to figure out what's going on.  Hey!  I think this might make me a WRITER! 

What about you?  How do you figure out who you are writing about? 


  1. it all depends on each story, my next wip has me a complete pantser digging up miles of back story and plotting outlines like I am the queen of pltters, I dont like it but that is what the book wants.

  2. Mostly by thinking about it. Often in the shower, my favorite thinking spot. Especially shaving my legs. :)

  3. Same. I don't learn about the characters unless I'm writing them. They whisper things as my fingers strike the keys. Or if I'm driving, bathing, and other impossible situations that I could never possibly take notes during.

  4. Too funny. Like you, I gesture a lot with my hands when I talk. And also like you, I have to start writing to figure out the story. I can not plot before I write. I have a basic idea about a couple of characters and an event that occurs that involves both of them and I start writing. Once I start giving them life on paper, then the story starts to become clear.

  5. Yes, yes, yes! I can totally relate. I can't sit down and sketch out character profiles at all. Everything comes out as I'm writing the story.

  6. This is good stuff, my friends. It's good to know that stuff doesn't just pop out of most of our heads into a fully realized outline. When I read stuff from wildly successful writers about character development, it seems like they just have a kind of a formula almost, and maybe I'm just not experience enough, but I don't seem to be able to do that: Okay, tortured hero, alpha, loves dogs, fatal flaw is...and then fit it into my story.
    I think maybe I should go shave my legs and see what develops.