Meeting your characters

So we’ve all heard of the planner/pantser model for writers, with the planner being the outliner and the pantser being the “writing by the seat of their pants” type. But what about when meeting your characters?

Do you outline? Do you outline to an extreme extent? Or just a few mild details?

Or are you a pantser, preferring to flesh out your characters on the fly?

I myself am usually a pantser. While I will write a general overview (outline) of my story before I write it, my characters live in my head. I see them, and get vague impressions on who they are and their goals/wants/needs. Rarely do I write out anything other than names, or details that pertain to the story outline.

However, this also causes problems. I tend to blur the characters, and the voices cease being unique for each character and become the same voice.

To combat that, I started using the character worksheets in the previously mentioned book: “Ready, Set, Novel“.

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These worksheets have helped me to better understand my characters. Their own unique voices, desires, fears and faults. It’s helped me uncover secrets and bad habits. I even found a few friends along the way. Every main needs some good supporting characters, and the worksheets in this book helped me organize my thoughts and even find a few I didn’t know I had.

Planning is new to me, and not always easy, but it has helped tremendously in preparing for NaNo this year. I believe it will also help me keep my character voices as their own separate and species selves.

So readers, I challenge you. I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and try some time as a pantser or planner. You might be surprised at what other methods can teach you. You may go back to your normal method in the end, but you’ll have gained insight into yourself and your writing.

Do you pants or plan? Do you dare to be different? What do you think you could learn from doing things another way?

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About lvadams

I grew up in Central Florida for most of my life. I was one of those strange kids who liked to catch lizards and snakes, and brought everything home from stray kittens to baby chickens and ducks. I started writing around the age of 11 and never really stopped. I now have a Bachelor's of Science degree from Auburn University and hope to get a job working with animals. Until then I keep on writing. :)
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