Penning People vs Creating Characters

Almost every post out there calls writers to create characters that feel real. But too often, we read a story where the characters feel like paper dolls. Some of the causes are craft and plot problems. But many times I wonder if the the characters would really do some of the things their author is making them do.

Would she really cry here? From what I have seen she is more likely to get angry.

One of the two things people say I do well is characters. I am not saying you will love them. In fact you might actually dislike several of them. I have tried to creat characters that come across real for the world they are in. Although the main character in my WIP is an shining example of how my methods work, I am going to talk to you about Kaja. She was a failure.

Not only did she not accomplish the plot of the story, she was a cut out of herself. There wasn’t any amount of editing that would would help her. This was a case of me trying to force a character into the plot out line despite it not working for the MC.

Stepping away for a few months showed me some of the problems I created with her. Eventually she became another friend that let me record her inner most thoughts.

Kaja’s story is about a woman in her early twenties who has suffered memory loss. She put her life together around the year that she has completely forgotten and the clouded events following that time.

When I gave up on this draft, Kaja was following my outline and that was it. There were some plot points where she did things I didn’t like and I refused to let her. For example, I wanted her to be able to communicate with the wolf she rode.

In general I finally saw that Kaja was not who I had written that story for. How do you discover that?

I am not a plotter. I have tried, and this story told me that pantsing is best for me. So my advice, might work better for a pantser.

I pulled out some of the plot points when Kaja didn’t react how I wanted. I turned them into writing prompts.

For example:

Your MC walks into a tavern/bar and sees some one staring at her/him. The person seems familiar. How does your MC react.

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