"" Writer's Wanderings: Hello, My Name is. . .

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hello, My Name is. . .


It's a new year and time to start a new novel. I have had a story idea kicking around in my head for months and I guess it is time to let it out. Now that involves meeting new characters. Usually I have a character in mind before I begin a book but this time the storyline came first so I need to get out and "shake hands" with some people to determine who is involved with this story.

Developing a character is a lot like meeting new people. On a cruise for instance, we sit down at a table for a meal and introduce ourselves to the others at the table. After that the conversation turns to where we live, how many kids/grandkids we have, professions, etc. As the cruise goes on, your table mates reveal more and more about their lives--interesting tidbits from their prior trips, tales of exciting experiences from their jobs, what they like to read and why, etc. You get the picture.

So I "met" this character yesterday. His name is Paul Carson and he's an air traffic controller. Now that's an interesting profession! I have lots of questions for him. So far I've found out he's married, has one daughter, grew up in Detroit, MI (but we'll forgive him for being from MI since he went to MSU not UM), and he has quite a story to tell about a time when his faith in God was tested. I'm excited to learn more.

4 comments:

Patti Lacy said...

Very cool, Karen!
Can't wait to know more about him myself.
P
www.pattilacy.com/blog

lauradroege said...

I like your analogy of "meeting" your characters. In my WIP, I had written about one-third of the novel and was writing a difficult scene where I needed a male character to talk to my heroine. I envisioned a manipulative, exploitative guy who would take advantage of this young woman. But the moment I named him, I sat back and thought, "Who are you and what are you doing in my novel?!" He was a completely different person than the man I imagined showing up in this scene, and he changed the entire course of the novel. (Ended up being the heroine's husband. :) And all because I happened to realize his name was "Andrew" and I've never known a bad guy named that. He pushed his way out of my pen, so to speak, and the journey's been different ever since. Can't wait to find out what your Mr. Paul Carson is like!

Karen said...

It scary sometimes when the characters suddenly take on a life of their own. Hard to explain to non-writers of fiction. I wonder if sculptures do the same thing to their creators. I was an Art Ed major but never did any figures in clay or plaster. Glad your Andrew is a nice guy. My son, Andy is too ;-)

Kathy Hardee said...

Thanks Karen. I hadn't written any fiction until last year during a writing course. I found that it's a lot of fun to "meet" the characters. I'd never done that before, it's pretty cool. Glad to read about the process you go through. Very intriguing. Thanks.

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