Monday, 10 September 2012

Knowing your characters vs. showing them

I know my characters pretty darn well, I think. I knew them well during my SUNDOWN revisions, increasingly so as I went through second, third, fourth and fifth draft revisions. And during my recent total overhaul, which resulted in SUNDOWN II, my intimate (ahem) knowledge of these people ("people"?) was right there in my mind.

That's why I got these feelings now and then while in the midst of the rewrite, feelings that I was not writing my characters properly. For instance, I recognised that Jared wouldn't be talking so much, and he wouldn't be understanding his own thoughts and feelings so early on. In reality it would take a good smack over the head with a tree trunk for him to get it. I guess it doesn't help that halfway through my rewrite, I changed my mind about some important aspects of the plot, so "early Jared" doesn't fit "later Jared". Basically what this means that when I get stuck into revisions, I will need to bring the guy into line with his true core nature. And with the new plot.

As for Louise, well, I know she's surrounded by people but feels she has no friends. She's living the dream, but wants only for it to be over. She's angry - many layers of angry - but in truth, she's mostly hurt, lonely, limbo. I knew all of that already, but I'm pretty sure it didn't come across in the rewrite. So, again, revisions will need to take care of that.

I thoroughly enjoyed the rewrite, as mentioned previously. But I happen to be one of those weirdos who gets a huge kick out of revisions. So I can't wait to get started on those. Again.


  1. I like re-writes too. Lets me develop my characters into full-fledged human beings.

    I did a rewrite like this too; one of my secondary characters wound up having some redeeming, almost heroic characteristics, and ended up a MC in the sequel. Go figure.


  2. I have a love/hate relationship with revisions.
    I KNOW my book will be stronger, and I get excited about playing with my people more, but there comes a point when I just want it to be DONE already.
    And yeah... my people are so real that I feel this need to show them the way they need to be shown.

  3. Sounds like your revising experience brought you deeper into the story and you've gained valuable insights. Yay! I'm in revisionland too, at the moment. Enjoy the ride!

  4. Amazing what one small change can do to the rest of our story.

  5. Yeah, my characters are definitely real to me. I fear that may be why I haven't done much revision of anything; Catrina would have a fit if I started rewriting her. :P

  6. I think revision is where things start to make sense and characters become real.

    Moody Writing

  7. Sounds like you are on top of it despite the complexities. The rewrites will make the characters all the richer.

  8. It's true that the more I write, the better I know my characters and whether I've written them accurately in the early chapters!



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