Monday, July 26, 2010

A Life of Her Own

So, I've been plugging away at the mystery (genre) project. I hit 30,000 words Friday, bypassed 35,000 on Saturday and, since I'm pre-doing this post, will probably pass 40,000 on Sunday. All of this means I have about 10,000 words left of the rough draft since my normal goal is 50,000. Woo-hoo.

On Saturday I created a new, peripheral character for the book. I didn't pre-plan this character, I didn't give much thought to this character. I just needed a fill-in character to serve a brief purpose.

Well, every now and then a character takes on a life of his/her own. This character did just that . . . much to my surprise and delight. At first, she was just the owner of a tea shop. Then, she became someone my main character had known for a long time. Then - yes, the metamorphosis continues - she became his favorite aunt. Geesh!

How did a simple, fill-in character, suddenly become so important?

I don't have a clue. It just sort of happened.

Then, she became, in the next chapter, a strong, force to be reckoned with woman who likes to talk with her hands . . . even if she is holding a cast iron skillet in one hand. Yeah, I don't know how that happened either.

Sometimes, I amaze myself during the writing process.

Oh, did I mention that this character knows the dirty little secret about one of the other characters? Who knew?

These things just sort of fall in place during the writing process. Not that I'm complaining . . .

I see a bright future for this character in later books in my mystery series. Yes, series. Every main character needs a no-nonsense supporter, and this woman is definitely no-nonsense. Did I mention she's a fabulous baker? Yum! Yum! So, as the series progresses, at some point and time in my writerly life, this little side character, this fill in character, will serve a more prominent role.



Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Ohh, you just inspired my post for The Lit Lab on Thursday. Filler characters becoming important. That always happens to me!

Davin Malasarn said...

I love discovering or creating a new character, especially when they are vibrant enough to feel like they can take over a story. Your character talking with her hands is a great detail!

Alleged Author said...

I always love it when a background character becomes larger than life later in a series. Can she bake all of us cupcakes? ;P

Scott said...

Michelle – it’s nice to know I inspire someone. Ha! There’s normally one character per project who just isn’t content on being a fill-in character. The character in this project is really making her presence known. Go figure.

Davin – me too. She really was supposed to play a very miniscule part in the MS, and now she’s made her way into three chapters. She’s clever like that! Ha!

Alleged – she’s an excellent baker. I’ll see about getting you some cupcakes. Ha! She’ll definitely play a part in later books. She’s definitely not content to be a one book kind of character.