The Character Interview
It's ok to ask your characters for help along the way
When we try to make characters take action, the action stalls.
Every so often, when planning out a novel, things get stuck. We can spend weeks and months making notes about characters and all the adventures we’re going to take them on through our novels, but if we have a next step in mind that don’t feel believable for that character to take, things stop flowing.
It’s easier in these moments to become self-critical, and to worry that our idea isn’t good enough, or that we haven’t properly outlined. (Or even perhaps that we’ve outlined far too much.) In fact, it’s quite rare that process is at fault here. Instead what’s likely going on is that you’re trying too hard to drive the character’s life and make all their decisions for them.
Yes, I’m aware that we’re talking about writing fiction, and that it is a novelist’s job to tell stories about characters who aren’t real. But the thing is, novels work best when characters feel real, even if they aren’t.
Here’s how to keep the action moving forward without stalling. The trick is to work with your characters as a team, rather than becoming their director or worse, holding them hostage to your own agenda.
from Dream to Draft is a reader-supported publication. To receive full access and join the conversation, consider becoming a full subscriber.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial