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How Writing can be like The Sims
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Have you ever played The Sims? I have—many times—probably too much.
For those that haven’t played it, at the beginning of the game, a player creates a Sim from a generic person the game gives you. You can change everything from eye color and hip size to how hot-headed or goofy they are. When you are finished, the character plops down onto the neighborhood.
A brand new character has been born!
A writer can create characters in a similar way. Authors often take great pains with this process, even studying the way certain traits would make a someone act and making sure that works with the plot of their story. From there, we flush out the personality.
This way of character building can create wonderful stories, and many times authors have full control of these characters. What I mean by that is we write what the characters do and the characters do it.
And sometimes they don’t?
Well, there is another way that we create characters—and that’s usually the way it works for me. Or to me. lol
I use the process above to create some characters. However, most of my characters are a whole different ballgame.
Storybook people often burst into my brain fulled fleshed out and ready to go. Many are even nice enough to bring a scene or two of the story with them. I don’t need to make their personalities—but I do need to figure them out.
I do that by jumping right into telling the story.
By putting problems before these new characters, I see their reactions and learn more about them. Within a few chapters, I get close enough to them I know how they will react to a situation.
These characters are not nearly as obedient as the others. Sometimes I will be stuck in a story and when I go back over everything, I realize I made someone act out of character. I fix that and then everything goes smoothly.
Mostly, I sit at the computer, fingers hovering above the keyboard. Then I type the story that rolls through my brain somewhat like a movie. More often than not, I wish I were a faster typist.
It’s weird the way these people, who aren’t people at all, can start to inhabit a part of your brain. It took a series to write Skye and Dylan’s story. I sometimes get more ideas from them, like a friend sending a postcard from a faraway place.
What about you? Do you have questions about this or any other aspect of writing?
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