And you know what?
I can't participate in this conversation because I don't see characters like that and I'm so jealous I'm going to rant about it now
Okay, I was just guessing how you'd feel after reading this rant. I swear I have a serious point to make, though.
- I start with the plot and setting and then come up with characters, so anything I make is tied to the story.
- How can I create an independent existence for something that was created to work best with a specific plot? They're intertwined. Also, I'd rather write a good story kthxbye.
- I never had imaginary friends, so the concept of wanting to do this is foreign to me.
- I have no imagination.
Again, I'm sure that last one is where you've gotten by now. And it's what I used to think: maybe I can't do this because I'm just not imaginative enough. What's wrong with me?
And then I decided y'all crazy.
What prompted this?
Well, I don't know. It might have been this:
Yeah, I was just writing my story and Xenophon Jr decided he didn't want to go fight the werewolves! LOL!
Or, I dunno. Maybe it was this one.
Guys, I cried like the whole time I wrote this scene because I could not believe I was doing this to Jeremy IT'S SO SAD T_T
I don't get it. And yes, guys, I know you all don't talk like this and it sounds condescending when I put it this way. The point is that it's how it comes off to someone who is completely outside the whole thing. I'm sure I come off as a cold bitch when I say I don't see characters as people. (You insightful bastard.)
Anyway, look. I don't care if you want to say your characters are doing stuff by themselves. But I do care when you say it's all them, not you, and you go completely helpless and don't know what to do. Self-respect, have it.
IT IS YOUR STORY. YOURS.
For fuckssake, pat yourself on the back when good things happen and take responsibility when you write yourself into a hole or can't make a scene convincing enough.
I just cannot repeat enough how much it bothers me when people, I don't know, have low self-esteem and can't give themselves credit for planning something so good it spreads like jam on toast when they go to write it. Or when people cannot come face-to-face with the fact that they were so determined to write that setting and those characters that they kind of forgot to make sure it would work coherently with the plot.
Do not tell me you were surprised where your story went. I know it feels natural sometimes. I know other times, it takes forever and you get a thousand false starts. What I didn't know, though, is that you could completely miss those words that you just typed with your own two hands.
And if you were too busy having emotions all over this character inside your head that we're only catching glimpses of, I doubt I will have half the feelers you did. The fact is, people who write assuming their readers are on the same page as them when they have a huge invisible backstory—are wrong.
Now please excuse me while I do some furious backpedaling and maybe even calm your (righteous) rage a bit.
No one has ever accused me of writing bad characters (if you disagree, where have you been?! CRITIQUE PLS). So you don't need some gimmick like 'my character is right here talking to me' in order to write a convincing story. What you need is the ability to go, 'what would a person of this demographic do in this situation'—and if it's not what you want to happen with the plot, then why exactly did you pick that character in the first place?
And pretending characters are real can be fun. I like playing God (when I can actually think of a character for it—seriously, I don't have a ten-year-running OC cast I keep developing and developing). Some people need to imagine a talking, walking person in order to get a scene out. And, for a longer project, it keeps the tedium from setting in when you're in that horribly boring middle part or are low on ideas for what to do next, that kind of thing.
Okay. Fine. I don't get it and I think you're weird until you admit it's all in your head, but whatever. People say I'm weird for using German numbers as insults. Weird isn't always bad.
What actually bothers me is that thing I said above.
TAKE RESPONSIBLITY FOR YOUR WRITING.
An exercise you use to make your writing easier/fun/better is not a valid excuse for a shitty scene or getting stuck because you can't figure out what to do. It is not an excuse for keeping characters alive for no reason, or drawing out their deaths because you can't let them go, or for being boring because no other person can relate to your headspace.
I don't care if you're just phrasing it like 'heehee, it's not me, it's them, now please can you help me figure out what to do' because it sounds fun or whatever. Language shapes thought.
As a writer, you should know that.
I didn't think this post had enough Eric, so have one more GIF.