As I was unwinding by absent-mindedly scrolling through Twitter, I happened upon a tweet asking if other writers/creators experience creating characters who take on a life of their own, and it got me to thinking. Recently I had drafted two scripts for one of our comics, only to then resubmit them to my comic partner after I realised that what I had written did not fit what the characters wanted to do. They had other plans, wanted to say other things, and go to different places. The thing is, this isn’t the first time this has happened.
In the first issue of another of our comics, we had scripted two throw away characters. They were to have no more than 5 pages of in-comic time. They, however, had other plans. The conversations went on and on and we didn’t want to stop them because, well, we liked it! Their fate did not change, but how they got there? Well, the rest is left up to history. In fact, their expanded roles have lasting impacts on the story. So much for throwaway characters.
There was also another time when I was participating in a written role play. My character was dating another one and they had had a very soul crushing fight. In the middle of talking about it, my character, well, they broke it off with the other one. The thing is, both myself and the other writer were just as shocked as each other! We didn’t know it was coming and oh boy did it crush us. Goes to show you have no idea what will happen!
I have written a few articles about outlines and plans, and, for the most part, I stick to that. However, there are times where characters surprise you. And, when they begin to deviate, explore where it goes. See how it sounds and if it’s looking good, be prepared to make changes to your carefully laid plans. In fact, when outlining, it’s good to leave a few details vague so as to allow your characters to grow and explore the story.
Do your characters have a life of their own? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!
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Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Sept. 17, 2021
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