My Character Process
I don’t really have a character process. They develop on their own. Yup. I’m a pantser. Always have been. Although I seem to have a sense of who the character is when I start writing the story, they will, more often than not, surprise me. Not necessarily turn from good to evil, but respond to a situation in a way that I hadn’t considered. This helps keep the story fresh.
Sometimes, though, I think this not having a character process slows down my writing process. They can be fickle and don’t always have regular visitation hours. Instead, they’ll show up at the most inopportune times (while I’m showering, about to fall asleep, driving in the car, etc.) and have the attention span of a two-year-old. (Maybe that’s me. LOL) It makes for slow going.
I’m currently working on an older story that I started back in 2007. The character’s name is Tammy. She’s sarcastic, funny, smart, and a bit jaded. She’s also a world class triathlete who is in desperate need of a good lay. LOL This story was inspired, in part, by my honeymoon in Tahiti. I loved it so much I had to write about it. Yes, I do dream of staying in one of those huts over the water someday. 😀
An excerpt from Tahitian Nights:
“Think about it, Tammy. Two whole weeks of hot men in skimpy clothes on white beaches in Tahiti. Now if that doesn’t appeal to you, you’re dead,” my sister said. Her hands planted firmly on her hips, she faced me like a drill sergeant in front of her new recruits, daring me to say, “No”.
“No.” I couldn’t help myself. Any scheme concocted by Cassandra always spelled trouble for me. The answer was reflexive and utter self-preservation.
“Oh, come on. This time will be different.”
“That’s what you said the time we went to Hawaii.” I lost my favorite pair of shoes and all of the brand-new beach clothes I’d bought to go on that trip. On top of that, the lovely beachfront community she’d promised we were staying in was actually a nudist colony. My eyes were scarred for life after seeing a ninety-year-old man frolicking on the beach with his equally old partner. Shudder. “And what about the time you claimed the trip to Idaho was a relaxing ski vacation. What happened?”
“We spent the time roping cattle, but the men were hot.” She smiled at me, her blue eyes twinkled.
“Which you enjoyed, but I ended up with a broken leg stuck in the bunks with no company for two weeks and then I had to fly home in a cast. Do you have any idea how uncomfortable coach is in a cast? Not to mention, the six weeks of an itchy leg.”
“I tell you what. If you don’t have fun, and shag at least one gorgeous man, I will personally refund your entire trip.”
“Oh, come on, Tammy, don’t be a spoilsport,” she whined.
“I prefer to think of it as intelligence. I am perfectly capable of arranging my own vacations,” I said.
“Ah, yes, the zero vacations you’ve taken in three years. Mm… those were wonderful vacations.”
In some nebulous region of my brain, warning bells rang. That tone of voice never boded well for me. “Don’t even consider involving Mom in this one, Cass,” I warned.
An evil glint made her eyes glitter like sun reflecting off of Tahitian waters, or so I assumed Tahitian waters would look when I arrived for that look told me I had no choice. The grin she shot me was smug. “I already told Mom about our wonderful vacation. She’s starting to anticipate grandchildren.”
The trill of laughter that filled the air sent shivers down my spine. Gah! Sometimes my sister was pure evil. Charming, but evil. “So, if I go, what’s in it for you?”
From evil plotter to innocent in five seconds flat. My sister the chameleon. “Oh, nothing.”
“Uh-huh. There’s always something in it for you. You’ve left me alone for the past three years. What victim said ‘no’ before you came to me?”
She remained silent.
This was my sister’s MO. She generally only contacted me, outside of family get-togethers, when she needed, or wanted, something, although she did, on occasion, surprise me with a sweet, thoughtful gesture. It’s something I secretly bemoaned. Even though we fought, and she manipulated me, the hope that she’d change into that perfect Hollywood sister kept me coming back.
“All right, now that we’ve established I am officially blackmailed into going,” she grinned at me again, “where exactly am I going and what is it going to cost me?” I asked her. This would be painful. Everything associated with my sister was painful.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. And I hope Tammy will continue to talk to me so that I can finish this story. I sure want to know how it turns out with her and Brandon (and her sister, too.)
What is your process for creating a character? Do you write down an in-depth dossier? Or are you like me and let them reveal themselves to you?
Please visit the other authors who are participating in this month’s and find out how their characters come to life: