Developing characters is a treat. 10% of building a character is determining some features and a name. The rest? That’s mostly down to them. We don’t get a say in their personalities, their traits, everything that makes them unique. We have always tried to. We’ve tried making them a specific type of person, a good guy or a bad guy .. we’ve tried to shove life choices down their throats only for them to stop working. We’ve dictated who to love, what to do, none of them that successfully.
What happens when you let them loose? They develop. They give you their hopes and dreams and share with you their thoughts and emotions. The less effort you put into designing a character, the better they become. This has been our experience. The more we try to dictate, the less they feel like working. Once we stop meddling, they will find their own way in the world we have created for them.
We’re learning not to change what works, to not fix every ache and trouble our characters suffer. We let them take their own course, walk their own paths, and that gives us wonderful things to work with. In the last two days we have had more heartbreaking character developments than we have had in months.
It means our writing actually gives us the feels again. It means we’re back to having characters that break our hearts, and it feels so good. Which sounds like an odd thing to say when your characters are writing and it’s working on your own tear ducts but it means the story is [I]alive[/i]. This is what we need to be able to write the story we want to write, if we can’t feel our own characters how would we expect someone else to?
At least, with all of the changes we’ve undone, we’re starting to learn not to meddle, and have caught ourselves nearly wanting to a few times. These are the moments where we do get to see how the lessons we learn the hard way do stick. It might take us a while to get here and for it all to hit home, but we’re there now!
And to reward ourselves for not meddling for a whole weekend – yes we consider this progress! – we have treated ourselves to a Jurassic Park marathon. Which, in the spirit of people making mistakes, is oddly fitting for us to be watching really..