1. Kiwi
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    Kiwi New Member

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    Rough character ideas, but lack plot or setting

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kiwi, Feb 8, 2012.

    Unsure of how to proceed.

    Please keep in mind that my creative time is limited due to family obligations. (I have an infant and must endure constant interruptions and slight sleep deprivation, etc. She's laying on me right now sleeping, actually, and it's taking forever to one-finger-type this post out.) :rolleyes:

    I have had a few characters marinating in my thoughts for weeks now, but have yet to figure out who the heck they are and what the heck it is they are supposed to be doing. Is this worth pursuing further - should I just drop them off in some random setting and see what happens? Has anyone experienced this before and have had a decent plot/setting develop during the writing process? Any suggestions appreciated.
     
  2. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Kiwi :) You used the word 'marinating'. That says it all. For me, when I get an interesting scene or moment or character, I keep thinking about it over and over until it sparks into something bigger. For some people, writing a character biography is useful. For me, the trick is to keep at it, either thinking or writing until it starts to 'grow'.

    Hope this helps.

    P.S. Yay happy baby girl! :D
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    every time. This is usually how it starts at least for me. Just keep exploring these ideas in your head until you have something more tangible in order to be able to start writing. Ask yourself questions about these ideas. Who are they? what do they want? where are they and why? what if-questions are good too. if you get little fragments of ideas when your away from the computer you could always save them as a note in your cellphone or something, or something like a little notebook you can always carry with you.
     
  4. SecretNinja
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    SecretNinja New Member

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    Most of the time, I jolt them down in a notebook and write a couple of their main attributes. Then, as Fuhringer posted above, you just let the idea cook in your head. Most of my inspiration comes at random moments when I'm listening to music. A certain tune gives me a mood or an idea, and then all of a sudden CLICK! it all falls down into place.
     
  5. spamalope01
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    spamalope01 Member

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    One thing you could do with them is "interview" them. Just sit down (when and if ever you get a chance) and type out a scene where you're asking them questions...or maybe it's them and another character just talking. You can start to get a better sense of who they are and maybe your subconscious will throw in something that could trigger a plot idea.

    Or if all else fails, bring in a man with a gun. :) See how they react.
     
  6. PolarBear
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    PolarBear New Member

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    I like the suggestions of the other posters.

    Just write down something about them in a notebook when you get an idea or maybe a bit of a plot when it pops up. Eventually, it will grow inside your head.

    Just don't try to force the idea and spend to much time thinking about it. That will just take time and most likely give no results.
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    My stories typically start out with the characters and eventually some vague idea of what trouble they could get into comes up. Then I start writing. So, like others said, let them simmer for a bit, toss them into a few quick situations to see if anything happens and/or how they react - at some point you'll realize you have a story ready to get started on.
     
  8. UberNoodle
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    UberNoodle Senior Member

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    Hi Kiwi. I am further down the rabbit whole than you but in essentially the same place. I have pages and pages of writing but it's all beginnings and middles and disembodied scenes. Every 'seed' germinates into at least two viable sprouts which always inevitably grow into quite different trees, despite the same lineage and that they exist for the same creative and thematic purpose. What I'm getting at is, it's pretty hard to come up with plot if that's what you sit down to do. In some ways I think, though I am still not out of these doldrums, trying to plot can be putting the cart before the horse. So I consider it this way -- the plot is what events happen to drive the characters through the stages of the story. The story is an emergent property of the who the characters are, why they do what they do and how they respond to the world and events which influence them. The more you understand these things, the clearer your writing mission will become. As I said, I am still wrangling ideas and instincts to over come this. My most recent approach has been to write eye witness accounts or debriefings of characters or bystanders at various points, ie, after the 'dust has settled'. It kind of tricks my brain -- no, I'm not writing the story yet, so leave me alone!
     

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