I am currently writing a fiction that I hope to have published in the summer of 2012. I have spent most of my freelance career writing articles of various types, poetry, and short stories. This is my first novel and I am excited about the story.
I remember reading an interview of a famous author (I don`t remember who) that at the time I didn`t quite understand as I was not yet experienced enough to get what the author was talking about. She was asked about developing characters in a story and how she went about the task. She talked about the way a character actually becomes a real person in her mind as she writes a story. She said the character would develop as she got to know the character more. This I thought was an odd statement–one I did not understand at all at the time.
I have written many short stories and in that capacity I generally know a character before I write because I have an idea in my mind that I intend to put to paper. I have a general idea of what I want to convey in the story and how I will present the stories and the characters involved. In the pre-writing and re-writing stages I do develop the characters more and more as I write but the stories are not long enough to get into too much detail–not so with a novel.
As I began to write this current work, I was beginning to see exactly what the author meant in her interview. I was learning more about the characters in the story as I wrote the story. I have seen things I need to add or subtract based on the way the characters, and the story, develop along the way. They begin to sort of take on a life of their own. One of the interesting things she stated was how one character refused to go in a direction she wanted to take him in the story–cool.
The other thing I wanted to share was the challenge of keeping track of multiple characters. This presents its own true test of memory and skill *laughing*. I once found I had written several paragraphs of dialog between two characters–one of which was suppose to be dead. This was early on in the story and I realized I had not yet become familiar with my characters–she (unknown author) was right again. We writers need a good sense of humor and we must be willing to laugh at ourselves once in a while.