Why name a blog “Characters at Large?”
It has to do with my writing technique and how I develop my stories.
Before I start you need to know three things:
- I do not claim to be an expert. I am a new writer and am sharing my experience with the writing process and what works for me.
- I love to write and support other writers.
- I hope my struggles and triumphs can either entertain or offer insight for other aspiring authors.
Okay let’s dive in!
When I write, I use a loose outline as a launchpad. I like to have a sense of structure but not in a way that constricts the story. So before I begin writing , I have an idea of how a scene is going to play out, but I leave room for unexpected twists (unexpected even for me).
As my fingers start click-clacking away on the keyboard, I become the POV character in every way: quirks, strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, reactions, and much more. I have heard other writers describe this process as “being a fly on the wall.” I disagree. I describe it as being the character. The difference is that you are experiencing the stimuli instead of just observing what they are experiencing.
It is the process of being the POV character and allowing them to run the show (in a semi-controlled way).
I try to keep this process as natural as possible. If the character decides that he/she wants to go explore a cave you didn’t even know was there then let them. If they want to befriend someone you didn’t expect, let them.
If it doesn’t work with the overall plot of your story, cut it out later during the editing process. One of the worst things you can do as a writer is get hung up on doubt and disrupt the flow of the story. But in my own experience, having a longer leash for your character leads to twists and turns that are more natural than a meticulously planned approach. If a character can surprise you, the author, then you are doing something right.
I am not saying that outlining is bad. But like anything, extremes are rarely beneficial. Having a balance between outlining and writing freely will lead to a healthier story.
Overall, I allow my characters to run the show. I become them. I am them. Many of my characters pop up 100% unplanned and they fit perfectly within the story. That is why I named my blog “Characters at Large.” I let them wander within my loose outline and let events unfold; I see what they see, hear what they hear, and feel what they feel.
Everyone writes differently and I would love to hear if you identify with anything I’ve said? Or have your own techniques? Please let me know in the comment section below! 🙂