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A land forged from the fires of strife, blood of heroes, and touch of the gods.
Where deeds of great valor, vile evils, and blazing passions intertwine
to shape the course of elven and human history within.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dropping In to Say Hi

As a writer, have you ever had a character drop into a story out of nowhere?  A character fully-formed with personality, appearance, and manner so complete you wondered "where the heck did she/he/it come from"?  Not only that, but this character had such an effect on your other characters (you know, the ones you actually are writing about) it creates a whole new dynamic in the story?
I had such a situation in my second novel, Dark Way of Anger; her name was Tolemey, a Grey Elf, and the love interest of one of my main characters, Daeron Foxxe.  Heck, I didn't even know Daeron had a love interest!  But there she was, in Chapter Five, coming on like gangbusters,  like I'd written the entire book with her there all the time.
This is a little spooky sometimes... OK, all the time.  But it's such an exhilarating feeling when you recognize your subconscious mind has (apparently) been playing with this notion without you even knowing it (I hate it when part of my brain is doing stuff I don't know about, don't you?). 
So what to do?  Well, obviously, since it's your brain who came up with this character, chances are there's a reason for it.  So my advice; pay attention and go with the flow.  Remember, if it doesn't work out, you can always remove the character in a multitude of ways.
But more seriously, what I think is really happening, your creative intellect (just love that phrase, don't you?) is telling you "this story needs something", so it whips up a character to fill the bill, drops him/her/it into the middle of the story, probably about the point you were wondering what to do, and saves you a whole lot of work.  What you do with that character along the way is probably left up to you; it can be a short-term solution to a problem area in the story, someone to help flesh out other characters (Tolemey being Daeron's love interest let me write some really steamy scenes, 'cause she was a bit of a, shall we say, flirt), or just possibly someone who really adds to the depth of the overall story.
So when this happens to you (and if you're a flexible and imaginative writer, it will at some point), listen to your writing instincts and make the most of it.  After all, you don't want to turn away a stranger who just might be there to lend a helping hand.

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