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Last Week’s WW: Timelines

Sometimes my fella will ask me, “how do you decide what a character sounds like?”  

I don’t have an answer for this question.  My characters sound the way they do, because that’s just how they sound.  For me, my characters come alive the moment I set fingers to keys.   Instantly upon word one I know how they sound.   I may have had an idea of who they were, but not until I start do I know who they really are.  My characters are a bit vague to me until I write them.  But once I get started, they come to me fully formed.  I don’t have to think about what they look like, or sound like, I just know.  They just feel right.

I think that this sort of thing happens a lot in writing.  There are things you can explain.  And things that you can’t that you can at least analyse.  And I think that this differs for every writer.  Certainly some are more introspective about their processes.  I’ll sit down and type as fast as I can think, and not be able to say how.  But my fella will sit down, and carefully consider his words, his sentences, the feel of the scene… all of it.  Different people, different specialties.

I think a lot of it comes from being a reader.  Sometimes you don’t need to think about things, be it: characters, structure, your plot, whatever it is for you that comes subconsciously.

I say if you have a part of your process that just feels right, go with it.  Do try to analyze it or pull it apart.  You can always try to improve on it, but I wouldn’t try to change it if it works.  Just go with your instincts.   Feeling right might be being right.